Boats left discernible wakes on the oil slick south and east of the Mississippi Delta in late May 2010. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image on May 21, one month and one day after the deadly explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig.
Sunglint-the mirror-like reflection of sunlight off water-helps differentiate the oil slick from nearby oil-free surface waters. Boat wakes appear as slightly curved lines, accentuated by the pastel tones of the oil slick. One boat wake, running roughly west-to-east through the upper middle part of this image, can be traced to the ship that has made it, which is heading toward the east-northeast. Southeast of the brightest part of the slick, a cluster of boats appears. These boats are in approximately the same area where the Deepwater Horizon rig had been located before the April 20 accident.
© Earth Observatory