Beneath the Horizon examines the consequences of two major oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico: The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the northern Gulf and the lesser known 1979 Ixtoc oil spill in the southern Gulf. By featuring scientists who have devoted their lives to studying the spills and residents who lived through them, we explore how the environment and people cope with disaster and what we can expect for recovery in the future.

Deepwater Horizon

Amount spilled:

4.9 million barrels

Duration: April 20 – July 15, 2010

Area: 149,000 km2 (MacDonald et al. 2015)

Shoreline impacted: 2,113 km


Amount spilled:

3 million barrels

Duration: June 1979 – March, 1980

Area: ~70,000 km2 (Sun estimates)

Shoreline impacted: 1,448-1,931 km