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The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Disaster Still Spreading in Disturbing Ways

During the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in 2010, an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico. The destiny of the oil that was not cleaned up has been documented in the new research. When the tragedy happened, the Deepwater Horizon platform was stationed at the BP-operated Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico.

The drilling rig exploded on April 20, 2010, due to a wellhead explosion, killing 11 people and injuring another 17. The platform, which was 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, sunk two days later and plummeted to the ocean at a depth of 5,000 feet (1,500 meters). On August 4, 2010, crews were able to cap the well, but not before 4.9 million barrels of crude oil spilled, making it the greatest disaster in US history.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Disaster Still Spreading in Disturbing WaysThe leaking oil spread far and wide, impacting marine life at all levels, including dolphins, birds, turtles, and even microbes, both at sea and on land. Despite massive cleanup and containment efforts (at their peak, 47,000 people were involved), large amounts of oil managed to escape and damage the surrounding surroundings.Scientists are still trying to figure out the exact scope of the disaster and what will happen to the oil that can’t be cleaned up. This past March, an overview published in the academic journal Oceanography gave additional information on the ongoing saga and the numerous biogeochemical processes that affected the escaping oil.

The overview was co-authored by John Farrington, a marine geochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Recent geochemical investigations, work financed by the US Natural Resource Damage Assessment, and data provided by BP and government organizations, including the National Science Foundation, were used to arrive at the conclusions.

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