Friday, April 30, 2010

How big is 200,000 gallons?

According to CNN, the Coast Guard reports that 210,000 gallons of crude oil are pouring into the Gulf of Mexico per day from the oil well damaged by the explosion of the Deep Horizon oil rig. That means that 210,000 gallons poured out yesterday, 210,000 gallons will pour out today, and 210,000 gallons will pour out tomorrow.

So how big is 210,000 gallons?

Well, the giant aquarium at the New England Aquarium is 200,000 gallons. Here is a picture I took of the top of the aquarium looking down when I visited this past January:

new england aquarium tankThat's a lot of water. Here is another picture taken from the New England Aquarium blog:new england aquariumThe tank is 23 feet deep and 40 feet wide and contains about 600 animals. That's a big tank.

So to imagine the damage caused by this oil spill, try to imagine someone filling this tank with crude oil and then dumping the contents into the Gulf of Mexico. And as the oil hits the water it spreads out, floating on top of the ocean, until it is only a few molecules thick - and this is happening every day until the well, which sits at the bottom of ocean, is closed off.

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