Disaster That Inspired Earth Day: 1969 oil spill killed thousands of marine animals

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Earth Day, which falls on April 22, was implemented to support environmental protection, but the celebration was born after an environmental disaster.

In 1969 an oil well erupted on Union Oil’s offshore platform in the Santa Barbara Channel, six miles off the coast of California

An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of medicinal oil leaked into the canal, killing about 3,500 seabirds and marine animals, making headlines in the US and forcing it.

The deadly spill made headlines in the US, sparking a number of environmental reforms in the coming years and a national day of awareness raising.

Earth Day was born in the spring of 1970 in the US and is observed in 192 countries to date.

While the Santa Barbara oil spill is far behind us, experts say much more progress is needed to better prevent and detect oil spills.

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In 1969, an oil well leaked into Union Oil's offshore platform in the Santa Barbara Canal, six miles off the coast of California.  An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of medicinal oil leaked into the canal, killing about 3,500 seabirds and marine life.  headlines in the US and forced

In 1969, an oil well leaked onto Union Oil’s offshore platform in the Santa Barbara Canal, six miles off the coast of California. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of medicinal oil leaked into the canal, killing about 3,500 seabirds and marine life. headlines in the US and forced

Oceanographer Andy Juhl emphasized in one press release the need for new technology to aid in prevention, as history has shown that oil spills have become more disastrous over time.

The Santa Barbara oil spill was the largest in US waters at the time, but is now classified as the third after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon and 1989 Exxon Valdez spills.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the worst in the country’s history, was caused by an explosion on a BP-operated oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

The massive explosion killed 11 people and spilled 210 million oil into the ocean, which is just a fraction of the total oil spilled into the oceans, Juhl explained.

The deadly spill made headlines in the US, sparking a number of environmental reforms in the coming years and a national day of awareness raising.  Earth Day was born in the spring of 1970 in the US and is observed in 192 countries to date

The deadly spill made headlines in the US, sparking a number of environmental reforms in the coming years and a national day of awareness raising. Earth Day was born in the spring of 1970 in the US and is observed in 192 countries to date

The oil spill started in Santa Barbara, but the oil spill spread 12 miles along the California coast.  While the Santa Barbara oil spill is far behind us, experts say much more progress is needed to better prevent and detect oil spills.

The oil spill started in Santa Barbara, but the oil spill spread 12 miles along the California coast. Although the Santa Barbara oil spill is far behind us, experts say much more progress is needed to better prevent and detect oil spills.

However, prior to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the US was shocked when 10.8 million gallons of crude oil poured into Prince William Sound, Alaska, when an Exxon oil tanker traveling to California hit Bligh Reef.

“Natural oil spills occur wherever there are hydrocarbon deposits on the ocean floor, and wherever there is commercial oil extraction you can guarantee there will be natural seepage,” Juhl said.

“There’s a gigantic reservoir of stuff that’s lighter than water that’s trapped under the sediment. So it makes its way up through cracks and crevices and escapes. ‘

In addition to natural oil, there are many other ways that oil seeps into the ocean, he said.

When fossil fuels are burned, soot and complex hydrocarbons are released into the air, fall back down and eventually find their way to the marine environment.

Leaks from ocean research, industrial use, ship and car ballast washing can all be flushed into the oceans.

Deepwater Horizon oil spill (pictured), the worst in the country's history, was caused by an explosion on a BP-operated oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.  The massive explosion killed 11 people and spilled 210 million oil into the ocean

Deepwater Horizon oil spill (pictured), the worst in the country’s history, was caused by an explosion on a BP-operated oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The massive explosion killed 11 people and spilled 210 million oil into the ocean

Prior to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the US was shocked when 10.8 million gallons of crude oil poured into Prince William Sound, Alaska when an Exxon oil tanker traveling to California hit Bligh Reef.

Prior to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the US was shocked when 10.8 million gallons of crude oil poured into Prince William Sound, Alaska when an Exxon oil tanker traveling to California hit Bligh Reef.

“The dramatic spills are actually, in a big sense, not the biggest source of oil in the marine environment,” Juhl said.

“The bigger problem is actually the 10,000 minor cuts as opposed to the gaping wounds that cause oil spills.”

Overall, many improvements have been made in the prevention and detection of oil spills over the past 52 years, Juhl said.

First, the average consumer is more aware.

“It used to be that when people changed the oil in their cars, they routinely just dumped it somewhere in a creek,” Juhl said.

People would justify it by saying it would reduce mosquitoes. But few would do that now. ‘

Industry standards have also improved, Juhl said.

“Cars are better built to prevent oil spills, and storm drains and industrial waste lines are designed so that if a lot of oil gets into the system, it can be detected and disposed of,” he continued.

DEEP WATER HORIZON OIL SPILL

The Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred on April 20, 2010 and resulted in the deaths of 11 workers

The Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred on April 20, 2010 and resulted in the deaths of 11 workers

The oil rig blew up on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and spewing 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf over the summer.

It is considered the worst environmental disaster in US history.

Scientists are still trying to figure out where all the oil went and what effects it had.

The BP drilling rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 workers and injecting about 72 million gallons of oil into the Gulf in the summer.

The BP drilling rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 workers and injecting about 72 million gallons of oil into the Gulf in the summer.

BP was suspended from conducting new government work in America in November 2012 after agreeing to plead guilty and pay a $ 4.5 billion (£ 2.8 billion) fine for criminal charges for the Deepwater Horizon disaster .

The disaster left behind oil debris that changed ocean life by reducing biodiversity in locations closest to the spill.

In a recent study, researchers took sediment samples from shipwrecks scattered up to 150 km from the site of the spill to study how microbial communities on the wrecks were changing.

Scientists saw a visible oil residue on two shipwrecks near the source of the oil plume – the German U-166 submarine and a wooden 19th-century sailing ship.

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