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Oil Reaches Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana

Light tan streamers snake across Chandeleur Sound in this detailed natural-color satellite image from May 5, 2010. The streamers are probably ropes of oil from a leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico. The streamers surround Freemason Island and arc through Chandeleur Sound west of the Chandeleur Islands. The image is from the Advanced Land Imager on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite.

oilspill

© Image from NASA's Terra satellite - courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team

The Chandeleur Islands are low, sandy barrier islands that are constantly being reshaped by storms, wind, and waves. Together with the Breton Islands to their south, they form the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. A variety of seabirds and shorebirds inhabit the islands, including the endangered brown pelican, least tern, and piping plover. Thousands of brown pelicans and other shorebirds are currently nesting on the islands, and sea turtle nesting season is approaching, says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

© Earth Observatory