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Oil Slick near the Mouth of the Mississippi

On May 8, 2010, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this high-resolution view of the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon leak just off the southern tip of the Mississippi River Delta.


© Image from NASA's Terra satellite - courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team

Concentrated patches and streaks of oil appear silvery gray. The blue-green color of the water in the center and upper-right of the image is due to sediment (muddy water flowing into the Gulf from the Mississippi River or sandy sediments churned up by tidal motions) or shallow water over shoals. The wakes of ships and boats create straight white lines in multiple places in the image. Because this image is made from a combination of visible and infrared light, vegetation on the tip of the Mississippi River delta appears red.

© Earth Observatory