Remember the Oil Spill?

April 21, 2011

A week ago last year, the U.S. experienced the worst oil spill in our country’s history. BP‘s Macondo well blew out, killing 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon rig about 100 miles south of Mobile off the coast of Louisiana. Oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico for three months before the company could stop the nation’s worst offshore spill. News reports have been coming out  this week as many scientists are doing their review of the status of the gulf’s health and the states that were effected. The surprising result is though, that the gulf is doing much better than anyone could have hoped for. Although clean up crews are still working daily along the beaches picking up tar balls and other oil that is still on the beaches but the most shocking news is that the gulf is restoring itself. What many do not realize is that before humans manage to cause horrible oil spills, the Earth was having them for millions of years already. When underground tectonic plates would shift on the ocean floor, it would sometimes cause cracks in the surface and cause an oil spill. Luckily the Earth has cleaning mechanism of it’s own. The bacteria in the ocean is capable of ingesting and breaking down the oil and the warmer the water is the more effective these bacteria are. This hands off approach to cleaning up the waters of the oil spill is one of the most effective ways they have found so far. this bacteria is able to process oil-rich water much faster than the processes that we are capable of today.  This does not mean though that we are in the clear. The environmental impacts on the states and the gulf will be hard to fully fathom for several years but let’s not forget what has happened. Although most of the U.S. has moved on to the next crisis or war, let’s not forget what we learned here and do not forget about atrocities that occurred just over a year ago


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