Study shows widespread land losses due to 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill

A new study released by NASA and the United States Geological Survey showed the annual maps of the Louisiana marshlands most affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It was revealed that the length of shoreline receded more than 13 feet per year, quadrupled compared to the year before the oil spill.

The research team, led by USGS member Amina Rangoonwala, also noted that although erosion occurred at isolated sections of the shoreline before the oil spill happened, the shoreline before the spill was largely stable. However, after the spill the erosion pattern changed from isolated to widespread. In the second year after the spill, the erosion pattern extended to areas that had less oil spill exposure.

In a statement, Rangoonwala noted “our study uniquely shows that the patterns of shoreline recession seen in this region can be directly related to distinctly different causes: broadly dispersed erosion due to oiling from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and enhanced, but spatially limited, erosion due to intense storm impacts.”

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