Oil Slick Along the Spanish Coast

Oil Slick Along the Spanish Coast

This close-up image of the northwest coast of Spain was captured on November 21, 2002, by the IKONOS satellite from 423 miles in space. The area was very cloudy and this was one of only two areas where there were breaks in the clouds. The coastline was in shadow at the time of the overpass, but several dark-colored fingers of oil are visible reaching through white waves towards the cliffs along the shoreline.

The area pictured here is just north of Cape Finisterre, which is the westernmost part of Spain. The oil tanker sank some 130 miles due west of Cape Finisterre, and ecologists are predicting an environmental catastrophe as the oil covers the ocean surface and washes ashore.

An earlier radar image revealed oil on the ocean’s surface.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    November 21, 2002
  • Visualization Date:

    November 23, 2002
  • Sensor(s):



NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration