Capping Deepwater Horizon (02:28)
In July 2010, over two million gallons of oil was pumping into the Gulf of Mexico per day. National Geographic reports from BP's command center as engineers stop the flow—86 days after the spill.
Gulf Oil Mystery (02:03)
BP has recovered 800,000 of four million barrels of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. Explorer goes behind the scenes to find out where the rest has gone and its effects on marine life.
Deepwater Horizon Disaster (02:52)
Nearly 100 exploration platforms hunt for oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico. On April 20, 11 men died in the latest in a series of BP accidents; experts discuss deep ocean drilling risks.
Inadequate Disaster Plan (03:19)
Experts share their reaction to the Deepwater Horizon explosion. BP was prepared for a surface spill comparable to Exxon-Mobile in size—but hadn't planned for a deep water accident.
Responding to Deepwater Horizon (02:53)
Relying on BP data, federal officials underestimated the spill flow rate at 5,000 barrels per day. BP set up coastal centers to coordinate a cleanup effort with scientists and government agencies.
Concealing Deepwater Horizon’s Scope (02:06)
As experts improvised a disaster response, Congress forced BP to release a video feed of the well head, causing officials to double a previous flow rate estimate.
Experimental Oil Cleanup Methods (05:04)
BP tried new mitigation strategies that risked further ecological damage. Witness the Coast Guard using skimmers and attempting to burn off surface slicks.
Underwater Spill Challenges (01:46)
As the Deepwater Horizon disaster grew, BP experienced setbacks while trying to cap the well.
Oil Dispersant Strategy (03:11)
Desperate to prevent the slick from reaching land to avoid further PR damage, BP deployed a controversial chemical to dissolve surface oil—with unknown environmental implications for the Gulf ecosystem.
Sub-Surface Dispersant (02:46)
Despite unknown environmental effects, the EPA approved BP's new strategy of dissolving oil at the spill source to "remove" the problem from the public eye.
BP's Scientific Assumptions (01:21)
The Deepwater Horizon response team believes microbes will consume dispersed oil particles in the deep ocean—but no studies have been done at that depth.
Investigating the Gulf Spill (03:48)
Teams of Independent scientists study the effects of chemical dispersants on sub-surface oil, using rosette samplers and taking safety precautions as they approach the Deepwater Horizon site.
Underwater Spill Data (02:46)
Surface samples near the Deepwater Horizon yield crude oil and scanners find anomalies that may be deep oil plumes—but definitive scientific conclusions are weeks away.
Discovering Oil Plumes (03:28)
After gaining access to the Deepwater Horizon site, NOAA's research team confirms that the spill is drifting in clouds hundreds of feet below the surface.
Deepwater Horizon Damage Debate (02:07)
After BP capped the well, NOAA claimed 75% of the oil had disappeared, but a scientist explains that it's still in the system and a potential threat to the environment.
Impact on Marine Life (05:12)
University of South Florida scientists are investigating the effects of dispersed oil on the Gulf ecosystem. Early findings show phytoplankton suppression and bacterial DNA mutation—raising questions of long-term damage.
Sacrificing Nature for Petroleum (02:09)
The Gulf is the source of more than a third of U.S. seafood and 30% of domestic oil. As long as demand exists, spills will occur—and deep water drilling is expanding.
Credits: Can the Gulf Survive? National Geographic Explorer (00:23)
Credits: Can the Gulf Survive? National Geographic Explorer
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