Graphic example brings Gulf oil spill home

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on June 1, 2010 at 6:38 PM

SEATTLE - A group designated to examine and learn from the Gulf oil spill got the idea to see what it would look like in Puget Sound. They used satellite imagery combined with Google Maps that they can share among themselves, but copyright issues prevent them from sharing with us. So, based on the information, we made our own maps to show you.

If you take a look at the most recent graphics of the gulf spill, it is somewhere between 17 and 39 million gallons and covers thousands of square miles.

Now, compare that to the size of Puget Sound, all of its 2500 winding miles of shoreline and 2800 square miles of water and islands, then impose that over a map of the Gulf oil spill.

The result is astonishing. Curt Hart of the State Spills Program said not one beach in Puget sound would escape being oiled by a catastrophe of this size. It would just destroy our shell fish industry and generations of fish and wildlife.

It's hard to think about and it's exactly what they are dealing with down in the Gulf.

But it wouldn't take a spill of the size of the one in the Gulf to do that amount of damage. Just one tanker, with hundreds of thousands of gallons, could cover the Sound in oil. It's not likely, but neither was a complete failure of the blow-out protectors on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

Major oil spills since 1967

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