previously worked as a consulting geologist, "using satellite imagery as a global geologic tool," in his words, to locate natural resources for major oil and mining corporations. Now he assists advocacy organizations, government agencies, and academic researchers with data collection and analysis.
Based on a map released from a flyover on Wednesday and compared to "the last good satellite image that we got, from the afternoon of April 27," Amos believes that the slick covers about 4,400 square miles. Official estimates to date have put the slick at about 2,200 square miles.
The spill was bigger than imagined - five times more than first estimated - and closer. Fingers of oily sheen were reaching the Mississippi River delta, lapping the Louisiana shoreline in long, thin lines.
"It is of grave concern," David Kennedy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Associated Press. "I am frightened. This is a very, very big thing. And the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling."
The oil slick could become the nation's worst environmental disaster in decades, threatening hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife along the Gulf Coast, one of the world's richest seafood grounds, teeming with shrimp, oysters and other marine life. Oil was thickening in waters south and east of the Mississippi delta about five miles offshore.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency Thursday so officials could begin preparing for the oil's impact. He said at least 10 wildlife management areas and refuges in his state and neighboring Mississippi are in the oil plume's path.