The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the April 20, 2010 explosion of an offshore oil rig has put local economies, wildlife and the Gulf's delicate coastal ecosystem at risk. This is one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation's history. Many dedicated people are working hard to cap the well, contain the spill and minimize the damage to one of our nation’s crown jewels: the Mississippi Delta.
For a comprehensive overview of what happened, see this article from the Encyclopedia of Earth.
To see the timeline of events and how the oil spread over time, click here.
For an amazing perspective on the size of the spill - by looking at it as if it were in your own neighborhood - click here and enter your zip code.
About 40 percent of the coastal wetlands in the lower 48 states are found in Louisiana. These millions of acres of wetlands were built over thousands of years by Mississippi River floodwaters that deposited huge amounts of sediment at the river's delta.
Today, these wetlands range from interior forested wetlands to barrier islands on the Gulf of Mexico and a wide array of interconnected habitats, including freshwater, brackish and salt marshes that are home to millions of birds and other wildlife.
Cleanup crews worked around the clock to contain the large oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill created an oil slick that threatened and continues to threaten fish and wildlife in the Gulf and surrounding wetlands. Here’s what kids are asking about the spill—and answers from environmental experts.
See how experts and volunteers are helping wildlife survive the oil spill.
Wetlands are places where there is shallow water or very soggy soil at least part of the year. Plants that grow there love having "wet feet." There are many different kinds of wetlands. And, they’re some of the most important places on Earth.
Check out these fascinating facts about wetlands.
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