Image: Oil Slick Spreads off Gulf Coast

Apr 27, 2010
Image Credit: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response Team

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the Gulf of Mexico on April 25, 2010 using its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument.

With the Mississippi Delta on the left, the silvery swirling oil slick from the April 20 explosion and subsequent sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform is highly visible. The rig was located roughly 50 miles southeast of the coast of Louisiana.

The oil slick may be particularly obvious because it is occurring in the sunglint area, where the mirror-like reflection of the Sun off the water gives the a washed-out look.

Oil slicks are notoriously difficult to spot in natural-color (photo-like) because a thin sheen of oil only slightly darkens the already dark blue background of the ocean. Under unique viewing conditions, oil slicks can become visible in photo-like images, but usually, radar imagery is needed to clearly see a spill from space.

Explore further: Halliburton pays $1.1 bn for Gulf of Mexico BP spill

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ESA's Envisat monitors oil spill

Apr 27, 2010

These ESA Envisat images capture the oil that is spilling into the Gulf of Mexico after a drilling rig exploded and sank off the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi, USA, on 22 April.

Scientists find black gold amidst overlooked data

Feb 19, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- About half of the oil in the ocean bubbles up naturally from the seafloor, with Earth giving it up freely like it was of no value. Likewise, NASA satellites collect thousands of images and ...

'Major oil spill' as rig sinks off US coast

Apr 23, 2010

A blazing oil rig has sunk into the Gulf of Mexico, sparking fears of an environmental disaster two days after a massive blast that left 11 workers missing.

Recommended for you

Halliburton pays $1.1 bn for Gulf of Mexico BP spill

14 hours ago

Oil services company Halliburton said Tuesday it would pay a $1.1 billion settlement over its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil rig blowout that led to the United States' most disastrous oil spill.

Underwater grass comeback bodes well for Chesapeake Bay

14 hours ago

The Susquehanna Flats, a large bed of underwater grasses near the mouth of the Susquehanna River, virtually disappeared from the upper Chesapeake Bay after Tropical Storm Agnes more than 40 years ago. However, ...

Clean air halves health costs in Chinese city

17 hours ago

Air pollution regulations over the last decade in Taiyuan, China, have substantially improved the health of people living there, accounting for a greater than 50% reduction in costs associated with loss of life and disability ...

User comments : 0