Now over a month into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion and subsequent gusher from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig, the world got a whole new perspective on the disaster yesterday as ABC’s Good Morning America and Philippe Cousteau Jr. dived below the surface of the spill. Donning hazmat equipment for diving in toxic environments, corespondent Sam Champion and Cousteau, grandson of the great explorer Jacques Cousteau, provided a powerful underwater look at what has now been proclaimed to be the worst oil spill in U.S. history. You can watch the segment here.
The impacts of this spill will not be fully understood for some time to come. But in addition to the obvious threats to wetlands and shore birds, it is thought that some of the biggest marine animals, including bluefin tuna and whale sharks may be affected.
Meanwhile, Paul Rademacher, engineering director for Google Maps, found the sheer magnitude of the oil spill difficult to comprehend, and has created a way to overlay the size of the oil spill over a map of your own region to put things in perspective. You can read more about it and do a comparison to where you live here.
Members of the Wetpixel community on the front lines of this disaster are encouraged to submit images to SkyTruth, who has set up a special website for tracking the oil spill that is built off of user-generated observations, photos and videos. You can learn more at the Gulf Oil Spill Tracker.
As Phillipe Cousteau Jr. so aptly put it, “this is a nightmare.” Let us hope that BP’s “Top Kill” procedure that is currently underway is fully successful at staunching the flow of oil.