The oil left behind from the Deep Horizon catastrophe on April 20, 2010 is still threatening the Gulf region’s people, economy and environment. During the event, a total of 185 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf region. At a glance, the water looks clear and life appears to be returning to normal. Marinas have reopened and fisherman are returning to work. But that’s not the case deep under the surface.

The government is estimating that less than 25% of the oil is still in the area, but scientists say the oil isn’t gone, it has settled at the bottom of the ocean.

According to ABC News, a “mile below the surface in the Gulf of Mexico, there is little sign of life.”

ABC News was given the opportunity to see the impact of last summer’s massive oil spill from the U.S. Navy’s deep-ocean research machine. From the submersible at 5,000 feet down, the ocean floor looks like it is littered with twigs. But the twigs are really dead worms littered inside an 80-square mile kill zone. University of Georgia professor Samantha Joye told ABC News “We’re finding it everywhere that we’ve looked. The oil is not gone, it’s in places where nobody has looked for it.”

According to a story on NPR, another research group also reported finding oil on the ocean floor.  “Researchers at the University of South Florida say they saw oil particles sprinkled on top of the mud. These new findings strongly suggest that it didn’t just drizzle oil — in some places it was a blizzard.”

The region will take years if not decades to recover from the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history. 2010 will go down as one of the worst years for environmental disasters and natural disasters related to climate change.

TreeHugger.com has a “Timeline of Unfortunate Events” of the oil spill on their website.

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