When will the Gulf of Mexico finally be free of BP-spilled oil?

Illuminating answers to environmental questions.
Jan. 4 2011 6:57 AM

Will The Gulf Ever Be Oil-Free?

No. But bacteria ate most of BP's spilled oil months ago.

Look at a Magnum Photos gallery on the BP oil spill

(Continued from Page 1)

And, although the oil mostly disappeared several months ago, an untold number of fish, aquatic mammals, and birds died in the disaster. It will probably take generations before their populations return to pre-spill levels. If only mammals could reproduce like bacteria.

The Lantern thanks Terry Hazen of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Joe Lepo of the University of West Florida.

Like Slate on  Facebook. Follow us on  Twitter.

Brian Palmer is Slate's chief explainer. He also writes How and Why and Ecologic for the Washington Post. Email him at explainerbrian@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter.