John Roach reports on the growing ‘oil sheen’ near the site of 2010’s Gulf oil spill disaster for Science at NBC News. Roach describes the scene in the photo above, taken by the On Wings of Care organization as, “A surface slick seen in aerial photos taken on Jan. 27 near the site of the 2010 BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is more than seven miles long.”
A persistent, mysterious “oil sheen” in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster grew to more than seven-miles long and one-mile wide during a recent stretch of calm seas, based on aerial observations made by a former NASA physicist turned environmental activist.
“We had maybe three or four days (of calm weather) and that’s all it took for the stuff to build up considerably,” Bonny Schumaker, the physicist who now runs the non-profit On Wings of Care, which makes regular flights over regions of the Gulf affected by the 2010 oil spill.
In a flight report from Jan. 27 posted on the group’s website, she described the oily expanse as “huge.”
Roach consults with several experts in the field seeking possible sources for the Gulf oil slick. He reports on the possibility that this leak might continue indefinitely:
It’s possible that the wreckage in 2010 somehow opened up a new fault on the seafloor. That possibility is inconsistent with BP’s findings, but would nevertheless indicate potential for an indefinite release of oil.
The latest fly-over by On Wings of Care of the Bayou Corne sinkhole also showed an unmistakable oily sheen: