Understanding the oil spill | A graphic guide

  • Map of the Southeast U.S. coast showing the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, the loop current and the Gulf Stream; under the right conditions, oil from the gulf could reach the Atlantic coast, such as a toxic outbreak of red-tide in 1987. CHARLOTTE OBSERVER Jay Pitzer / MCT

  • A look at some of the industries and consumer goods, such as seafood, tourism and gas prices, that have been and will be affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. MCT Staff / MCT

  • This map of U.S. gulf coastline shows marine habitat areas threatened by the oil spill. Miami Herald Staff / MCT

  • List of some of the fish species near the spill important to commercial fisheries and tourism throughout the gulf. Miami Herald Staff / MCT

  • Charts showing most of the shrimp and half of the oysters caught in U.S. waters came from the Gulf of Mexico in 2008. Los Angeles Times/MCT 2010 Staff / MCT

  • This graphic shows how seabirds are contaminated by an oil spill; spills, such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico, are especially hard on seabirds. MCT Staff / MCT

  • This graphic shows how dispersants can break up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. MCT Hulteng / MCT

  • This graphic explains how British Petroleum plans to contain one of the leaks at the wellhead of the Gulf of Mexico oil well site. MCT Staff / MCT

  • Diagram of how BP is installing a large dome over the largest Deepwater Horizon oil rig leak. Chicago Tribune 2010 Staff / MCT

  • This graphic shows the three methods being used to stop the uncontrolled flow of oil from the riser pipe that separated from the sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Los Angeles Times/MCT Staff / MCT

  • Image of blowout preventer, with explanation of how device should function to prevent oil spills. Orlando Sentinel 2010 Staff / MCT

  • Charts show the number of Gulf of Mexico oil drilling leases by water depth; how deepwater wells have expanded, 1992 vs. 2005; production of deepwater crude oil, 1990-2009. MCT Staff / MCT

  • Table, with logos, identifying the companies involved with the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, creating a massive oil spill. MCT 2010 Staff / MCT

  • Chart shows where ultra-depwater oil rigs are being used in 2010, by world region; growth of ultra-deepwater rigs, 2000-2010. MCT 2010 Staff / MCT

  • Table lists 11 of the world's largest oil spills from oil rigs and oil tankers since the late 1960s. MCT Staff / MCT