The photo featured in this article is part of the gallery of images taken by various NASA satellites over the course of the ongoing Deepwater Horizon disaster and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In this photo we can see the position of the now-sunk Deepwater Horizon oil rig, owned by Transocean Ltd. but leased and operated by BP, who is responsible for the leak containment and cleanup cost and operations.
You can just see the Mississippi Delta poking down through the heavy white clouds in the center top portion of the photo. Oil can be seen a significant distance (221 miles) to the southwest of the leak proper, but some of this may be natural oil seepage. Oil naturally seeps up to the surface from wells, and this process has been seen in the Gulf before. It’s tough to tell from this image what the source of this oil is, but it does seem to clearly be oil. They are large streaks of about 1 mile wide each.
The images selected to be shown on NASA’s Earth Observatory site are actually just that – a selection of more images taken. You can go here to view the images that MODIS takes twice daily of the Gulf oil spill as part of its Rapid Response System.
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