Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Earn a Reward - Challenges of CleanUp from Deepwater Horizon

Just over a year ago, the Deepwater Horizon, an oil-drilling rig deployed to the Gulf of Mexico, malfunctioned and exploded.  This tragedy cost 11 men their lives, injured many, and resulted in an estimated 180,000,000 millions gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf. 
Scientists took a variety of measures to: (1) shut off the flow of oil from the ocean floor, (2) address the large volume of oil spilled into the gulf and the shore areas, and (3) attempt to minimize the damage to the wildlife and eco-system.
Often, the solutions to a problem create new problems.  For example, large volumes of material were poured into the Gulf of Mexico to absorb the oil.  While the absorbent was useful, it was also toxic (poisonous).  Crews also used inflatable tubes (boom) to block the oil from delicate marsh areas and beaches.  The booms helped however they were heavily soiled by the oil and those devices which are now disposed of, have contaminated many of our landfills.   Leaders rely on scientists and engineers to help them make good decisions on how to address problems.
Earn a Reward ! – Your answers are due by class on Friday
1 – On what day did the Deepwater Horizon explode?
2 – How many days did it leak oil into the Gulf of Mexico?
3 – Name three states that were directly affected by the oil spill
4 – Name three occupations/jobs that have been adversely affected by the oil spill
5 – It’s estimated that 180 Million gallons of oil (24 Million cu ft) were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.  If all the oil was captured in a container the size of a football field, how deep would it be?  Assume that a football field is 360 feet long (including end zones) and 160 feet wide.  There are also 7.5 gallons in one cubic foot.
6 – Think like a scientist !  Give an example of another problem where the “cure” may also have some penalties that need to be considered. 

Want to know more about oil drilling?  Check out this cool link….. http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/oil-drilling.htm