Originally posted by scraze
That's right - the official numbers correspond to having a layer of oil of just .00003192 m thick - that's .03192 millimeters! To compare, a
human hair is between .04 and .25 millimeter thick. If we are to believe the figure of 100,000 barrels a day, then we will also have to believe that
the layer of oil visible from space is actually thinner than the human hair.
Again, I scared myself this can't be right!
Don't wet your peelings yet, you're wrong!
ATS member OutKast Searcher pointed my attention to the fact that visible oil sheens can actually be formed by incredibly thin layers. Here's a link
he provided: en.wikipedia.org...
It's hard to say exactly what we're seeing, but if we keep our values optimistic and identify the sheen as "silvery", we should use a thickness of
only 0.0000760 mm! Of course we would be completely ignoring all the oil beneath the surface, but it would be a good thing to calculate the minimal
volume of oil on the surface correctly. The same calculation as above with the rectified thickness:
We have a surface of 64,375 square kilometers with a thickness of 0.0000760 mm.
This leaves us with only 4,892.5 cubic meters (!) = 4,892,500 liters = 1,292,461 gallons = 30,772 barrels. This would correspond to about 480 barrels
So the minimal volume of oil we can deduce from the surface is just about 30,000 barrels (absolute minimum for "barely visible': 15,000 barrels).
Though we can assume there's a lot more there than meets the eye, I would like to apologise for being so off :]
So I learned a couple of things today..
1) I should do more research before scaring my peels off (and others too - I'm sorry!)
2) It's a good idea to ask members on our beloved ATS Chat (it's real!) to double-check your math (thanks OutKast Searcher!)
3) Visible oil sheens can be as thin as 1/526th of a human hair
I've been looking up some dispersion formulae for crude oil in water, but I'm afraid it's a bit too much for me to digest at the moment. I do have
a glimmer of hope to offer in regard to the surface, thanks to the rectifications: oil can show up as bright brands with just 4 times the thickness of
the 'silvery sheen', so even then, there would just be 120,000 barrels floating on top. The "darker" oil appearance listed in the forementioned
page is about 26 thicker than the 'silvery sheen', corresponding to 800,000 barrels (8 days worth).
All in all, we can't deduce too much from the surface itself - it really comes down to what's happening below. I hope to be able to get some more
information, but now that visuals by itself appear to be inadequate for the deduction of volume, I apologise for the - well - misinfo!