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Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
Two weeks after the April 20 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, an oil slick lingered not far from the Mississippi Delta. On May 4, 2010, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image of the oil slick. The slick appears as an uneven gray shape immediately north of a bank of clouds. Sunlight bouncing off the ocean surface gives the oil slick a mirror-like reflection easily detected by satellite sensors.
The Pentagon approved the deployment of as many as 17,500 National Guard soldiers to assist with cleanup efforts, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, well operators considered drilling a relief well—a diagonal well intersecting the original that could be filled with mud or concrete to block the flowing oil.