big spillage

I’ve been reading the news about the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf. It’s going to go down in history as quite a tragedy for a lot of people and animals, not to mention the 11 people who died outright, and their families.

I keep seeing the news referring to it as the largest oil spill in US history, though, and that’s not correct.

The largest spill in US history happened right here in California, in Kern County west of Bakersfield. It was called The Lakeview Gusher, and it spewed oil onto the land from March 1909 to September 1911. About a year and a half. And it gushed approximately 1.2 million tons of oil. The latest high end estimate I’ve seen for the Deepwater Horizon is about half that.

The Lakeview Gusher was the 2nd largest oil spill in the history of Earth. The largest remains the Gulf War Oil Spill in 1991, notably a series of deliberate acts.

Before I did some googling this morning, I hadn’t heard of the Lakeview Gusher and I’d forgotten how big the Iraq War spill was. I thought the Deepwater Horizon was probably the largest ever in the world. Of course, it’s not over yet.