Gulf Disaster Is Largest Accidental Spill Ever, Research Shows

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The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has spewed nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the ocean, making it the largest accidental spill into marine waters in history, new research shows.

The spill from BP (BP)'s ruptured Macondo well easily outstrips the previous record of 3.3 million barrels released into the Bay of Campeche by Mexico's Ixtoc I rig in 1979, The New York Times reported. "We've never had a spill of this magnitude in the deep ocean," Ian R. MacDonald, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University, told the Times.

Federal scientists and engineers estimated that 53,000 barrels of oil spilled into the water each day before BP managed to cap the well on July 15. Previously, the best estimate was a range of 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a days.
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