Well, it seems like worst case estimates of how much oil is pouring out into the Gulf of Mexico is coming to pass. According to independent analysis of the footage released by BP, NPR reports that there are more than 70,000 barrels a day (that's 2.94 million gallons) flowing from the wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon. Official NOAA estimates place the amount of gushing oil at a figure ten times lower, and initial independent analysis placed it five times lower.
What this means is that the most popular emotional touchstone spill in the US, the Exxon Valdez and its 11 million gallons, was surpassed by the Deepwater Horizon nearly two weeks ago--assuming a constant rate of flow.
One Month More To Become Second Worst Spill in History
Comparing this rate of flow to the Ixtoc 1 spill in the Gulf back in 1980 (the second worst spill in history). That dumped 100 million gallons. Again assuming a constant rate of flow and this estimate being correct, we have 34 days before the Ixtoc 1 is surpassed.
It would take nearly six months of uninterrupted flow for the Deepwater Horizon to release more oil than the 520 million gallons intentionally dumped by Saddam Hussein in 1991 in an attempt to slow the invasion of Iraq by American troops.
More on the BP Oil Spill:
First Underwater Images of the Gulf Oil Leak (What BP Won't Show You)
What are BP's Options to Stop the Oil Leaks? What are the Chances of Success?
US Army to Turn Gulf Spill Oil Into Asphalt With Experimental Chemical (Video)