The Gulf oil slick has a tail, and that's bad


See the the long, dangle-y trail of oil in this NASA photo taken May 17? It's a big problem—and not just for the obvious reason. The oil slick isn't simply spreading here, it's hitching a ride on the Interstate.

loop current .jpg

The Loop Current is a patch of warm, Caribbean water that pops up into the colder Gulf like a prairie dog sticking its head out of a hole. You can see it above as the orange parabola popping up into the blue. Water follows the path of that arch, up from the Caribbean, back to the Caribbean—and the water that gets back to the tropics can easily join up with the Atlantic Gulf Stream, seen above as the orange arrow rising along the Eastern Seaboard.

That tail of oil in the first picture has almost extended into the orange parabola of the second. So far, NASA says, the Loop Current isn't picking up the oil. But, if it does, the Deepwater Horizon slick could reach the straights of Florida in as little as eight days. And, beyond, the Atlantic.


  1. URGENT CALL for awareness and higher perception levels of ourselves as a species! Deadline: now.

  2. As a South Floridian, I can’t express how much this really sucks.
    The sludge has hit the fan.

  3. On my blog, I’ve been aggregating a lot of stories from this spill. I don’t tend to be a conspiracy theorist, but I’m of the mind that the spill is much worse than BP is making it out to be. It’s already a widely held belief that 10 times as much oil may be spilling from the well than the “5,000 barrels a day” as quoted by BP. It’s also known that the huge plumes of oil below the surface will be much more damaging than the media-unfreidnly slick (where cleanup efforts are focused).

    But the big worry is that the sand and other particles in the high-pressure stream oil will wear away the wellhead over time (Ixtoc I took nine months to stop fully). The more damage to the wellhead, the more oil spills out, and the Loop Current sprays it into the Atlantic Ocean. With enough oil, this could cause serious ecological damage which may very well mean a reduction, if not a moratorium, on fishing in the Atlantic ocean.

    Unlikely? Maybe. But also plausible. The consequences are serious enough that we need to stop this spill as quickly as possible, and then seriously reconsider offshore drilling from here on.

    1. Unfortunately, this is all I come away from this whole event with. Above all, its depressing that we’re even here.

  4. Okay, I’ve had it, I am going to park my car and walk the 24 miles one way to work. I wish someone somewhere would get over the drill baby drill mentality and get serious about alternative energy options — then we can leave all of that oil in the ground.

  5. Now BP has taken to ordering the media around when they go to get the story of large scale arrivals of oil on La beaches. Today they say that they are getting 5000 barrels of oil from the leaking well, but they are not showing video of the well.

    Why? (Because it is leaking more than that, and they do not have control of it yet.) Once they get the leak plugged up, then they can say whatever they want about the quantity of oil spilled because they control the information about the blowout. This company has refused to “come clean” (Yeah, I know, bad pun.) about the true nature of the oil coming out of that hole. If they gave out all of the information that they have we might not be able to put an exact figure on the size of this spill, but we would find out that it is MUCH bigger than they let on.

    This is how it is done. Deny anything. Promise to do better. Say you are sorry. Claim that it was not a preventable incident. Pay a token fine. Continue to haul in an insane amount of profit. Ask for government assistance because it is a new fiscal year and now last years profits are gone.
    Repeat as needed.

    (expletive deleted)

  6. Watch and listen to those politicians who will continue to support off-shore drilling. Then work to vote them out.

  7. Just like Firefighters rush to stop the fire as soon as home is caught on Fire, so should the Government’s or Bp’s action be to shutdown the leak. Not sure what is taking so long. (So many days !) Who makes what decision. Even a small child can address such issues.

    Atleast ACT NOW.
    Save PLANET, then you are welcome to think business.

  8. It amazes me how quiet the GOVERNMENT is at the moment. It’s been a month and nothing it’s done to clean this mess and in the mean time all we hear is BP will pay for all damages. Are you kidding me this clean up will take yrs and yrs to clean up not only in the gulf but the Atlantic to. Not to mention how many sea animals will die for the reckless behavior those people did are are still doing.

  9. Ok, well, at least this will put an end to off shore drilling. Right? I mean, can it get more obvious?

    1. Maybe if Rush Limbaugh got covered in oil and died of shock while being scrubbed clean by biologists.

      1. The greatest likelihood of Rush getting covered is when he comes to the surface to breath, leviathan that he is.
        Someone should check me on this, but if I remember right, there are several components to the Loop Current, one of which flows counter-clockwise. We could effectively see the spill split and hit both the western Gulf and also pass through the Straits of Florida into the Atlantic.
        Shock and awe on the ecosystem.
        Yay BP.

        1. The oil well sits right in the area that will let the oil hit south padre and the gulf stream.

          Furthermore, if you look at BP’s own documentation on this site, they say that this well “could” produce over 160000 barrels of oil PER DAY if it were allowed to just flow wide open. (uncontrolled open discharge) The application goes on to say that the resources that they need to clean up the mess should there be a blowout are right there on the gulf and they can get it cleaned up as much as is practically possible…

          Now they want to go to houston to go to court on this. The victims of this fiasco will have to travel to another state to argue they have been damaged but BP says that is in the interests of justice. It will be closer to BP’s offices, and that’s going to be more convenient.

          The real reason is far more nefarious, of course.
          Good ole boy network, increases your chance for a favorable judgement. Also, it keeps those pesky plantiff witnesses jumping when you game the legal system from your backyard instead of theirs…

          once again,

          (expletive deleted)

    2. We can all hope, dream, and be wildly, foolishly optimistic.

      Ain’t going to happen, though.

  10. Thank god this happened in the gulf, where fertilizer runoff has already created a deadness.

    1. “where fertilizer runoff has already created a deadness.”

      I’m guessing you have never been there?

  11. kinda reminds me of the rain barrel i created. the overflow hose ducks under my fence and empties into my neighbors driveway. my flooding problem solved!

  12. I’ve read that there is enough oil in this deposit to kill every organism in the ocean.

  13. I renew my call for all to do what you can to BOYCOTT BIG OIL.

    Bear in mind that this is a finite resource, and we WILL have to transition off eventually. Why not now?

    The ocean is a kind of spiritual symbol to me. It is beautiful. This is very much not beautiful.

  14. Palin was just expressing her family’s solidarity with the gulf coast, noting that “we know what it’s like to live through an oil spill.” What a sweet woman.

  15. Is this a pretty solid application of Chaos Theory? I’ve been doing some searches on anyone (amateurs, experts, whoever) and can’t find anything as far as people attempting or even talking about it.

    I know it’s not at all an open-and-shut solution and Chaos has has some of the wind taken out of it’s sails over the years, but this seems right in its wheelhouse… or not?

  16. it’s not all that bad. there are 19,998 platforms out there that have not exploded in the past year–that is quite a safety record! 2 bad apples shouldn’t spoil the bunch. and all of that oil on the water means jobs. that’s the map i see. jobs. so drill, drill, drill. we got to get that oil. without it, we wouldn’t have had cars, the industrial revolution and a prosperous nation. love that landrieu!!! if only others had here positive attitude. grey skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face…lot dot dee dee dah

  17. A Damn Dirty Shame.

    If a human can make it, Nature can break it. . .so this is no surprise, but it sure is sad.

    #11: Yes. #21: I hope that is incorrect. But the worst part is: this is going to keep happening. Oil on this planet is so necessary to our civilization that we are going to use it all up, sooner or later.

    (and damn to perdition any unlucky ecosystem that gets in the way)

    Peak Oil, the Long Emergency: this is a horrific incident, but when Texas Tea runs out for good. . .all this happy sh*t grinds to a halt.

    Sorry, Earth.

  18. Wow, anybody want to work on an open video documentary of the coastline?

    I’m a 4 hour drive away. Send me gas money and questions and I’ll send back video.

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