NASA Captures First Photos of Massive 'Arm' of Oil Slick (Hundreds of Miles Long)

bp oil spill satellite nasa photo

Photo: NASA, public domain.
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That Can't Be Good
Photos taken by NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite satellite on May 17th and released today show that the BP oil spill has a massive 'arm' that is spreading out in the Southeast direction. Is it caught in the Gulf of Mexico's Loop Current?
bp oil spill satellite nasa photo

Photo: NASA, public domain.

Look at the scale of that thing! Based on the 25 km reference in the bottom left corner of the NASA image, the 'arm' is hundreds of kilometers long. However you slice it, and whatever the actual number of barrels/day is (and nobody's certain yet), that's a lot of oil!

Gulf Loop Current
If you compare it to the map of the Gulf Loop Current, it doesn't perfectly fit, but these currents probably move around a little, and so that long straight line on the NASA pic could correspond to the red loop current.

nasa gulf loop current oil spill image

Image: NASA's Earth Observatory/U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

One thing's for certain, something is taking the oil in the Southeast direction rapidly enough that it doesn't spread too much. Look at how well-defined the edges of the slick are!

See also: See More Amazing Images of the Earth From Space
More on BP Oil Spill
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70,000 Barrels or 5,000? What Did BP Know and When Did They Know It?
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