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  • Title: TerraSAR-X Acquisition of the Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Location: Gulf of Mexico
  • Image Type: Radar
  • Resolution: 18.5m
  • Date: 05/08/2010
  • Copyright: DLR e.V. 2010, Distribution Airbus DS Geo GmbH
  • Scale: 07:40,0
  • Imaging Mode: ScanSAR
  • Polarization Mode: W
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TerraSAR-X Acquisition of the Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico

TerraSAR-X ScanSAR Acquisition (16.8m resolution) recorded on May 8th showing the extend of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, following the explosion of an oil rig on April 20th, as a result of which the platform sank two days later. The oil spill is reported to be leaking about 42,000 gallons a day from a well nearly a mile under the ocean surface and has spread to an area of 1,800 square miles.
The reflection of radar waves depend on the roughness of the surface and the smooth surface of the oil film spreading on the sea surface reduces the radar backscatter to the satellite. Thus it appears as a dark area in the SAR image and allows the extent of the oil slick to be seen.