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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This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated.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.
Oil continued to float across the Gulf of Mexico around the Mississippi River Delta in early July 2010, three months after a deadly explosion at an offshore drilling rig. This photo-like image of the region was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on July 9.
The sunglint region of the image—the washed-out area where the Sun’s reflection would appear if the water were as calm and smooth as a mirror—is located in the left-hand side of the view. Oil located very close to the spot where the Sun’s reflection would have appeared in this image looks very bright.
Beyond the area where the Sun’s reflection would have appeared, however, oil may make the water surface look unusually dark rather than bright. The dark arc in the water east of Timbalier Bay may also be oil; it is consistent with oil locations identified with radar images of the area captured on July 8.
Image by Liam Gumley, provided by the MODIS Today Website at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center.
Oil in different locations brightens and darkens the surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico in this photo-like image from July 9, 2010.
Shoreline Assessment Response Team, Louisiana. (7, July 2010). Latest Observed 07-07-2010. GIS layer published on Geoplatform.gov/gulfresponse Website. Accessed July 9, 2010.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (8, July 2010). NESDIS Radar Anomaly Analysis 08 July 2010 Composite. GIS layer published on Geoplatform.gov/gulfresponse Website. Accessed July 9, 2010.