Image: Unified command releases new overflight map updated 5 p.m. May 3, 2010. CC.
Not Out of the Woods Yet...
Late Tuesday night, BP succeeded in plugging one of the three leaks that are spewing vast quantities of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. This was done with the help of underwater remotely operated vehicles; the robots were able to place a special valve on the leaking drill pipe on the sea floor, about 5,000 feet deep. Unfortunately, this isn't expected to really reduce the quantity of oil that is leaking, though it's a step in the right direction since there are now only two leaks to deal with.
Photo: NOAA satellite image of Gulf of Mexico oil spill as of May 4, 2010.
The Next Step: Containment Dome
A 100-ton containment dome is expected to arrive Wednesday, and it should be lowered over one of the leaks on Thursday. If everything goes according to plan, this done should help contain the spill and allow ships on the surface to siphon the oil. But there's still a lot of uncertainty;
Containment domes have never been tried at this depth--about 5,000 feet--because of the extreme water pressure.
"We don't know for sure'' whether the equipment will work, said BP spokesman Bill Salvin. "What we do know is that we have done extensive engineering and modeling and we believe this gives us the best chance to contain the oil, and that's very important to us.'' (source)
Let's hope that this works.
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