Headlines > News > Latest Satellite Images of Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico

Latest Satellite Images of Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico

Published by Matt on Wed May 5, 2010 7:49 pm via: Earth Observatory
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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.

Satellite image from the Aqua Satellite on May 4, 2010 showing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: NASA/Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team

Satellite image from the Aqua Satellite on May 4, 2010 showing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: NASA/Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team

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 oil.

The oil spill as seen from the International Space Station by astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Credit: NASA/JAXA/Noguchi

The oil spill as seen from the International Space Station by astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Credit: NASA/JAXA/Noguchi

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