Current estimates show the 210 million gallons of oil released by the damaged BP Deepwater Horizon Macondo well spread out over the equivalent of 92,500 miles.
…Spreading with squid-like tentacles, the oil reached Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
In a massive spill response, federal workers, contractors and volunteers sought to detect it, contain it and use chemicals to disperse it. Yet large amounts of oil reached beyond the containment effort and were never fully accounted for until now, the study says.
…The the oil’s reach was 30 percent larger than that estimate, the new study says.
…A significant amount of oil and its toxic footprint moved beyond fishery closures where it was thought to be contained and escaped detection by satellites as it flowed near the Texas shore, west Florida shore and within a loop current that carries Gulf water around Florida’s southern tip up toward Miami.
…“Oil in these concentrations for surface water extended beyond the satellite footprint and fishery closures, potentially exterminating a vast amount of planktonic marine organisms across the domain,” the researchers wrote. The findings show that the government’s understanding of how oil flowed from Deepwater Horizon was limited and that it underestimated the extent to which marine life was killed or poisoned by toxic crude.
…“If you want to respond to this kind of spill, you have to know where the entire mass is, the amount of oil that came out of the well, and know that the footprint is not only on the surface, but in three dimensions,” she said.