On This Day: Deepwater Horizon - The Most Devastating Environmental Disaster
Examining the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the subsequent oil spill, and the far-reaching consequences on marine life, coastal ecosystems, and the regional economy.
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, located in the Gulf of Mexico, experienced a massive explosion that would result in one of the most devastating environmental disasters in history. The disaster took the lives of 11 workers and injured 17 others. Over the course of 87 days, millions of gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf, causing extensive damage to marine life, coastal ecosystems, and the economy of the surrounding region.
The Deepwater Horizon was a semi-submersible oil rig owned by Transocean and leased by BP, one of the world's leading oil and gas companies. On April 20, while drilling the Macondo Prospect, a deep-sea well, a series of events led to a massive explosion. A surge of natural gas from the well shot up the drilling pipe, ignited by a spark, and caused a massive fireball. The explosion and subsequent fire resulted in the tragic loss of 11 lives and severely injured 17 others. Two days later, on April 22, the burning rig sank, leaving the well gushing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Oil Spill:
The explosion caused the Deepwater Horizon well to leak uncontrollably, releasing an estimated 3.19 million barrels (approximately 134 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf over 87 days. Efforts to contain the spill included the use of containment booms, controlled burns, and chemical dispersants. However, the majority of the oil spread across