Today on Planet 100: Top 5: Worst Oil Catastrophes (Video)

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Today, on Planet 100, we're counting down the top 5 worst oil catastrophes of all time. Believe it or not, the Exxon Valdez spill barely makes the list at number 5. You won't believe what took the top spots!5. Exxon Valdez
The full extent of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster is still unknown but one thing is certain—it will certainly surpass our #5 worst oil catastrophe—the Exxon Valdez.

In 1989, Exxon's oil tanker Valdez hit a reef in a remote region off the coast of Alaska spill, spilling 10.8 million gallons (or 250,000 barrels). The long cleanup process and infamous images of animals coated in oil helped to rally environmentalists working to reduce oil consumption in the U.S.

4. Nowruz Platform
The Nowruz oil field in Iran's Persian Gulf leaked some 80 million gallons of oil when it got hit by a tanker in 1983.

The incident happened at the height of the Iran-Iraq War when an oil tanker hit the Nowruz Field Platform, damaging the well underneath. The resulting leak of 1,500 barrels a day could not be capped for months because the platform was under constant attack by Iraqi planes.

3. Atlantic Empress
In 1979 The Atlantic Empress collided with the Aegean Captain ten miles off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago, spewing 90 million gallons of oil.

The collision between the two fully loaded oil carriers took place during a tropical rainstorm. Both ships immediately caught fire and began leaking their contents in what would become the largest tanker-based spill ever recorded.

2. Ixtoc 1
The Ixtoc I was an exploratory oil well in the Gulf of Mexico which suffered a blowout in 1979 to become the second largest oil spill in history.

Like the Deepwater Horizon spill, the Ixtoc 1 underwater leak proved extremely difficult to plug. It took experts and divers some nine months to contain and cap the well, by which time 138 million gallons of oil had escaped.

1. The Gulf War
Our number one spot goes to The Gulf War Oil Spill where hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil poured in the Persian Gulf during the Kuwait War.

The incident occurred when Iraqi forces were withdrawing from Kuwait, sabotaging hundreds of wells, oil terminals, and tankers, in part to thwart the arrival of US forces. It stands as the biggest oil spill ever recorded with estimates at more than 350 million gallons!

That's our Top 5 Worst Oil Catastrophes. Is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill poised to take top spot? Let us know by leaving a comment at the Planet Green You Tube page.

More about this episode of Planet 100
Planet 100 on Planet Green
Read more about the Gulf Oil Spill on Planet Green:
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The What, When and Where
Gulf Oil Spill: Amazing and Devastating Photos
Our Dependency on Oil (Video)
From Dispersants to Mushrooms and Hair: How to Clean Up an Oil Spill
12 Animals Threatened by the Oil Spill

Read more about the Gulf Oil Spill on TreeHugger:
BP Gulf Oil Spill Cheat Sheet: A Timeline of Unfortunate Events
Gulf Oil Spill: The Black and Oily Demise of Wildlife (Slideshow)
Will The BP Oil Spill Be Our Collective Zen Slap Into Eco-Realization? Let's Hope So
BP Oil Spill: Videos to Catch Up

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