The Mexico Gulf Oil Spill and Hurricane Alex


The oil spill as seen from space
The oil spill as seen from space

I’m sure a lot of you heard of the oil spill that took place in the Gulf of Mexico. If not, long story short:

Deep Water Horizon was a drilling rig in the Gulf Of Mexico built in 2001 and licensed to British Petroleum until 2013. In September 2009, the rig drilled the deepest oil well in history at a vertical depth of 35,050 ft (10,683 m). On April 20, 2010, when drilling at the Macondo Prospect, an explosion on the rig caused by a blowout killed eleven crewmen and ignited a fireball whose flames were visible from 35 miles away. The resulting fire could not be extinguished and, on April 22, 2010, Deepwater Horizon sank, leaving the well gushing at the sea floor and causing the largest offshore oil spill in United States history…(info from Wikipedia)

Bird covered in crude oil

This oil spill has disastrous effects on the ecological equilibrium.  You can just search on google for images with animals trying to survive the crude oil. It’s just… sad.

Besides the sinister predictions that this oil slick is going to eventually travel across the Atlantic Ocean when it escapes the Gulf helped by ocean currents, now there’s a new threat: a hurricane.

Hurricane Alex, as it is named, is the first hurricane of 2010 that is forming in the Atlantic Ocean Basin. It’s yet too soon for meteorologists to say if the hurricane will pass through the oil spill or not. It may as well follow the path of its antecedent(the same-named hurricane from 2004) and not hit the area contaminated.

Anyway, if it happens, high speed winds will give birth to big waves that will accelerate the mixing of the oil with the ocean, and also help it go deeper. This mean faster biodegradation of the oil, but it will be disastrous for underwater ecological systems(like corals).  The oil will be spread over a higher surface, making it even more difficult to clean up the mess. Also, those waves have to go somewhere. When they eventually reach land, they will contaminate a large portion of the beaches with oil.

Also, ships that work hard to fix the problem around the well could be forced to get out of there if the hurricane hits.

I just hope all this catastrophe will end without any further damages to the ecosystem.

The Forecast Map
The Forecast Map
2010 Tropical storm Alex
2010 Tropical storm Alex
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