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Deepwater Horizon Disaster

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the largest marine oil spill in history, and was caused by an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil platform about 50 miles southeast of the Mississippi River delta on April 20, 2010. Most of the 126 workers on the platform were safely evacuated, and a search and rescue operation began for 11 missing workers. The Deepwater Horizon sank in about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) of water on April 22, 2010. On April 23 the U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for missing workers who are all presumed dead. After a series of failed efforts to plug the leak, BP said on July 15 that it had capped the well, stopping the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in 86 days.

  • Estimate of Deepwater oil spill rate Featured News Article Estimate of Deepwater oil spill rate Estimate of Deepwater oil spill rate

    NOAA-led analysis shows gases and oil in three chemically different mixtures: deep underwater, in the surface slick, and in the air. Chemical measurements... More »

  • Deepwater Horizon effects on fish Featured News Article Deepwater Horizon effects on fish Deepwater Horizon effects on fish

    Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon Spill Effects on Fish Revealed Oil spill resulted in dramatic effects on fish species in Louisiana marshes Despite low concentrations of oil... More »

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Public Input: Deepwater Horizon Accident Early Restoration Plan Last Updated on 2012-01-15 00:00:00 Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Call for Public Input on Early Restoration of the Gulf Sixty-day public comment period for Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees (Trustees) has released the Deepwater Horizon Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (DERP/EA) for formal public comment. It is the first in an anticipated series of plans to begin restoration of the Gulf of Mexico to compensate for natural resource injuries, including the loss of human use of Gulf resources, from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The DERP/EA describes the initial projects proposed to receive funding from the $1 billion Early Restoration agreement announced by the Trustees and BP on April 21, 2011, called the Framework Agreement. The Trustees will hold 12 public meetings in... More »
Estimate of Deepwater oil spill rate Last Updated on 2012-01-10 00:00:00 NOAA-led analysis shows gases and oil in three chemically different mixtures: deep underwater, in the surface slick, and in the air. Chemical measurements confirm official estimate of Gulf oil spill rate By combining detailed chemical measurements in the deep ocean, in the oil slick, and in the air, NOAA scientists and academic colleagues have independently estimated how fast gases and oil were leaking during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The new chemistry-based spill rate estimate, an average of 11,130 tons of gas and oil compounds per day, is close to the official average leak rate estimate of about 11,350 tons of gas and oil per day (equal to about 59,200 barrels of liquid oil per day). “This study uses the available chemical data to give a better understanding of what went where, and why,” said Thomas Ryerson, Ph.D., a... More »
Deepwater Horizon effects on fish Last Updated on 2011-09-27 00:00:00 Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon Spill Effects on Fish Revealed Oil spill resulted in dramatic effects on fish species in Louisiana marshes Despite low concentrations of oil constituents in Gulf of Mexico waters from the Deepwater Horizon spill, fish were dramatically affected by toxic components of the oil. So found a team led by scientists Fernando Galvez and Andrew Whitehead of Louisiana State University (LSU). The researchers published their results in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) [See Open Access Article]. Galvez, Whitehead and colleagues undertook a combined field and laboratory study. It showed widespread effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on fish in Louisiana marshes. Gene expression in tissues of the fish studied--in this case killifish--was predictive of oil spill responses such as developmental abnormalities and... More »
Hsieh, Paul A. Last Updated on 2011-09-16 00:00:00 Honored for Role in Ending Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Dr. Paul Hsieh, a research hydrologist for the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), has earned the Federal Employee of the Year Medal for providing critical scientific information during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Dr. Hsieh’s calculations were key in helping senior federal officials and scientists conclude that the containment cap on the ruptured well was working and did not need to be removed, thus ensuring no additional oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. "Dr. Hsieh’s swift work and creative thinking was critical to the successful kill of the Macondo well,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who will present Hsieh with the award during a ceremony this evening. “Paul’s brilliance and determination in the face of a national crisis are to be... More »
Just how big is the oil spill? Last Updated on 2011-08-23 18:17:35 In this PBS clip, editorial illustrator Steve Brodner puts the size of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in context by comparing the 78,000 square mile oil spill to the size of football fields, the Nagasaki bomb, and others. More »