When NASA’s Terra satellite passed over head at midday, it’s MODIS sensor captured the image of the expansive slick of oil pollution spreading across the northern Gulf seen to the right.
The oil on the surface of the water mainly appeared as silvery-gray ribbons due to the angle the sun was reflecting off the slick.
The black patches near the source of the spill, and off the coast of the Florida panhandle, are probably smoke clouds being generated by efforts to burn off some of the oil.
A loop current outside the mouth of the Mississippi River, which swirls around the Gulf of Mexico, has contained most of the oil in a large mass for the past 60 days to the south of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and the Florida panhandle.
But oil has fouled the coast near Point Washington, Florida, as well as along barrier islands along the Alabama-Florida border. Extensive damage to the environment has also occurred in the Louisiana bayou country near Grand Isle, northeastward to near the mouth of the Mississippi.
On Tuesday, NOAA scientists said that the loop current had been pinched off from the source of the oil by a small eddy. This was temporarily suspending the loop current’s interaction with the spill, eliminating a clear path for oil to enter the current from BP’s Deepwater Horizon source.
The oil was observed moving northward toward the Gulf Coast as a result of this development.
Full story and image: NASA