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New Orleans and Southern Louisiana, USA – October 30th, 2010 – Eosnap Celebrates its 3000th Post!

29.1N 89.4W

October 30th, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day, Rivers, Sediments

USA - October 14th, 2010

New Orleans - October 21st, 2010

Oil by Mississippi River Delta - May 5th, 2010

Eosnap celebrates its 3000th post with an update on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and a look at New Orleans, the Mississippi River Delta and southern Louisiana, USA.

The main image shows the Mississippi River Valley about two weeks ago, golden tan in color, and the river itself meandering down towards the Gulf of Mexico. Brown and tan sediments pour out of the delta area and into the gulf to the south of New Orleans, visible as a grey area. The city and its surroundings are best observed in the color close-up image.

The black and white radar images, on the other hand, offer a look back at the spread of the oil slick during the first month and a half of the oil spill. These wide-swath ASAR images make it possible to observe a wide area in great detail, and allow the oil to be seen much more clearly than in color images.

Spread of Oil - May 18th, 2010

Oil Slick - May 15th, 2010

A little more than six months after the Deepwater Horizon oil platform caught fire and ultimately sank, signs of that accident continue to appear along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana fishermen found “massive stretches” of oil floating toward marshes in the Mississippi Delta last week, reported Discovery News.

It is hardly the only observation of surface, or near-surface, oil since the Obama administration gleefully declared in August that 75 percent of the Deepwater Horizon spill had been magically cleaned up. Still unresolved is perhaps the most contentious issue of all: Where did all the oil go? Even allowing for the skimming and burning of much of the surface oil, the bulk of what entered the Gulf as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster should still be somewhere beneath the waves.

A team of researchers found evidence of oil in the water column far beneath the surface, approximately 300 miles (500 km) from the site of the accident, by analysing the water for low oxygen levels — a sign that oil-consuming bacteria were in the area. Interestingly, however, the scientists didn’t find quite as strong a low-oxygen signal as they anticipated. This doesn’t mean that the oil isn’t there, but rather that bacteria aren’t consuming as much of it as they might have predicted. It could be that some of those undersea plumes have, as time has passed, become more diffuse and thus harder to detect.

Southern Louisiana - June 3rd, 2010

New Orleans and Delta Area - May 31st, 2010

Fluctuations in Size and Location of Oil Slick, Gulf of Mexico – May 26th, 2010

28.8N 88.7W

May 26th, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day

Gulf of Mexico, USA - May 21st - 24th, 2010

Gulf of Mexico, USA - May 21st - 24th, 2010

Over a month after the spill began, oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico. The exact spill flow rate is uncertain –in part because BP has refused to allow independent scientists to perform accurate measurements– and is a matter of ongoing debate.

It is estimated that the resulting oil slick covers a surface area of at least 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2), although the exact size and location of the slick fluctuate from day to day depending on weather conditions. This animated image shows the fluctuations of the slick between May 21st and 24th.

As this environmental disaster continues, more than 22,000 people and 1,100 vessels are now involved in the onshore and offshore exercise to control the slick that is affecting approximately 65 miles of the Gulf coast.

It was reported this week that BP is recovering 40pc less oil than previously claimed as it prepares fourth attempt to halt leak. The oil giant admitted it was recovering less oil from a tube inserted into the mile-long pipeline that snapped after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded with the loss of 11 lives a month ago.

BP initially said that most of the estimated 5,000 barrels a day spewing out of the well was being collected and taken a mile to the surface but yesterday the company disclosed that the average daily recovery is running at just over 2,000 barrels.

BP conceded that the siphoning system involved “significant uncertainties” because of its novelty and said that it was impossible to “assure its success or put a definite timescale on its deployment”.

The use of a special tube to collect the oil is the third technique used by BP to control the flow after the failure to reactivate the blow out preventer and erect domes over the damaged seabed installations.

Now BP is pinning its hopes on operation “top kill” involving the injection of heavy drilling fluids to stop the flow and sealing the well with cement to end the nightmare. Engineers hope to start work on Wednesday while work continues on the slower process of drilling two relief wells.

Oil Coats Louisiana’s Shorelines and Reaches into Marshes, USA – May 25th, 2010

25.6N 92.4W

May 25th, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day

Gulf of Mexico, USA - May 21st, 2010

Gulf of Mexico, USA - May 21st, 2010

Crews try to clean an island covered in oil on the south part of East Bay May 23rd, 2010. (© REUTERS/Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace)

Crews try to clean an island covered in oil

Over one month after the initial explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, crude oil continues to flow into the Gulf of Mexico, and oil slicks have slowly reached as far as 12 miles into Louisiana’s marshes. According to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, more than 65 miles of Louisiana’s shoreline has now been oiled.

BP said it will be at least Wednesday before they will try using heavy mud and cement to plug the leak, a maneuver called a “top kill” that represents their best hope of stopping the oil after several failed attempts.

Based on low estimates, at least 6 million gallons of crude have spewed into the Gulf so far – though some scientists have said they believe the spill already surpasses the 11 million-gallon 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska as the worst in U.S. history.

Oil Spreading Throughout the Gulf of Mexico, USA – May 17th, 2010 – UPDATE

29.0N 88.7W

May 17th, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day

Spread of Oil in Gulf of Mexico from April 26th to May 18th, 2010

Spread of Oil in Gulf of Mexico from April 26th to May 18th, 2010

Oil Spill seen from ISS - May 4th, 2010 - © NASA

Oil Spill seen from ISS - May 4th, 2010 - © NASA

The series of ASAR images in this animation show the spread of oil, originating from a deepwater oil well 5,000 feet (1,500 m) below the ocean surface, in the Gulf of Mexico over the last three weeks. The spill is threatening to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez leak off Alaska as the United States’ worst environmental disaster.

The oil spill began with an explosion and fire on April 20th and has been releasing between 5,000 to 100,000 barrels (210,000–4,200,000 US gallons; 790,000–16,000,000 litres) of crude oil per day, although the exact rate is part of an ongoing debate.

The resulting oil slick covers a surface area of at least 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2) according to estimates reported on May 3, 2010, with the exact size and location of the slick fluctuating from day to day depending on weather conditions, as one can observe from the animated imagery.

In addition, on May 15 researchers announced the discovery of immense underwater plumes of oil not visible from the surface, one of which is 10 miles (16km) long and a mile wide. Researchers from the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology said they had detected the slicks lurking just beneath the surface of the sea and at depths of 4,000ft (1,200m).

The US has said the success of a move by oil giant BP to curb a leak in the Gulf of Mexico is “not clear” and the technique provides “no solution”, in response to BP’s move to siphon oil from the leaking well head to a tanker on the surface.

This was the third attempt it had made to insert a long narrow tube into the leaking pipe, using underwater robots. It is thought that BP’s 6in-wide (15cm) tube and stopper could capture more than three-quarters of the leak, although a smaller spill nearby also has to be contained.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Reaches Louisiana Coast‎ – April 30th, 2010

29.0N 88.9W

April 30th, 2010 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day

Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico - April 29th, 2010

Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico - April 29th, 2010

Oil Spill Detail (Radar Image)

Oil Spill Detail (Radar Image)

The massive oil spill pouring from a ruptured oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the coast of Louisiana, threatening an environmental catastrophe in the region.

The first fingers of oily sheen reached the mouth of the Mississippi River on Thursday evening local time, 24 hours ahead of previous estimates by the US Coast Guard.

Oil is escaping from the well at a rate of about 5,000 barrels a day, five times faster than previously estimated. At that rate, the volume of the leak will exceed Alaska’s 1989 Exxon Valdez accident by the third week of June, making it the worst U.S. oil spill.

As the sun began to set over the fragile wetlands surrounding the Mississippi, the oil was slipping into the South Pass of the river and already lapping at the shoreline in long black lines.

Although US government agencies and BP set up 100,000 feet of booms to protect coastal areas from the slick, rough seas sent five foot waves of oily water over the top of the booms into the river.

The oil slick is on its way to becoming America’s worst environmental disaster in decades, threatening hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife in one of the world’s richest marine environments.

Even before the spill neared the coast, wildlife experts said a toxic mix of chemicals was poisoning the waters of endangered marine life and fisheries, including one of only two breeding grounds world-wide for Atlantic blue-fin tuna.

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