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Sunglint on Gulf oil slick

Updated on May 30, 2010

At 3 p.m. EDT on May 18, NASA's Aqua satellite captured sunglints in a visible image of the spill.

Sunglint is a mirror-like reflection of the sun off the water's surface. In calm waters, the rounded image of the sun would be seen in a satellite image. However, the waves in the Gulf blurred the reflection and created an appearance of three bright areas in a line on the ocean's surface.

Gulf coast oil spill could become the worst oil spill in US history if immediate action not taken to plug the well.

With estimated rate of 5000 barrels or 200, 000 gallons per day released, within 3 month it could easily overtake Exxon Valdez oil spill of 11,000,000 gallons. What is worrying is that the source of spill is direct from the oil reservoir.

To stop the flow from the MC252 well, BP plans to drill a relief well in the Gulf of Mexico. A drilling rig drills a relief well or second well to intersect the original, flowing well as deeply as possible.

A specialized heavy liquid is then pumped into the flowing well to bring it under control. This liquid is denser than oil and so exerts pressure to stem the flow of oil.

Once the flow is stopped, the well can be returned to a safe condition. Hopefully, BP will manage to stop the flow from the well.

Gulf Coast oil spill

Sunglint on gulf coast oil spill
Sunglint on gulf coast oil spill
BP plan to drill second relief well to squeeze the first well and stop the oil flow.
BP plan to drill second relief well to squeeze the first well and stop the oil flow.

US oil spill explained


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    • probyte2u profile image

      Eidul Ameen Bin Sahul Hamid 7 years ago from Part Buntar, Malaysia

      It is a real mess. It has already surpassed Exxon Valdez oil spill. When the secondary relief well comes in, then only BP hopes that it can solve the problem.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      Oil is an essential item to collect it from sea bed. But the leak in the oil pipe causing oil spill endangers the life. Who is going to take care of it? Is it not more dangerous than Greenhouse gases?

    • valbond profile image

      valbond 7 years ago from UK

      Amazing picture!