This satellite radar image taken by Envisat's ASAR sensor at 10:44pm local time on July 7 shows a large patch of oil extending north from the site of the leaking Macondo well, and an area of small slicks along the Mississippi shoreline. A large dark area extending from Mobile Bay to beyond Panama City may include patchy oil slicks and sheen, as seen in this area on previous days. But it is also an area of calm winds; the surface wind speed was measured at Buoy 42012 at 1 meter per second, gusting to 2 m/s, at the time this image was acquired. That's on the low-end threshold for oil slick detection with radar imagery.
BP takes the old cap off allowing oil to flow freely in attempt to place new better fitting cap on. The federal official leading the Gulf oil spill cleanup stated the new containment cap and an additional ship collecting oil could effectively contain the spill by Monday. BP CEO says oil reservoir is 2.1 billion gallons. If the relief wells fail, it would spill for 2 more years.
If the “Emergency Relief Well Act” passes it would require concurrent drilling of at least 1 relief well whenever new well is drilled.
Progress continues with the relief wells, with the first of two potentially finished by the end of July. BP already working on a backup to that calls for transferring the crude to non-producing underwater wells miles away.
Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.