The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is growing worse, with 1,000 barrels pouring into the ocean every day over a span of 28,600 square miles. As the spill creeps closer to Louisiana‘s coastline, which contains 40% of the country’s wetlands, scientists continue to scramble for a solution. One possible fix: a giant underwater dome that could be placed over the leak to suck up the oil.
Photo Credit: US Coast Guard
BP engineers are working on designing and lowering a giant dome over the leak in an attempt to suck up oil and stop the gusher from reaching the coastline. The idea isn’t new — it was first tried and abandoned in a 1979 oil spill after two months of sustained damage from harsh seas. Domes have been used since then, but never at the depth of the Gulf of Mexico spill (5,000 feet).
Even if the dome idea does work, it can’t come fast enough. Scientists expect the oil to hit the coastline in a matter of days, and a dome isn’t likely to be ready for at least two weeks. Still, we have to hope that the dome will make some sort of difference — it’s the only hope for the fragile Louisiana coast.