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May 5, 2010
Aerial images of the oil spill
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The oil you can't see could be as bad as the oil you can. While people anxiously wait for the slick in the Gulf of Mexico to wash up along the coast, globules of oil are already falling to the bottom of the sea, where they threaten virtually every link in the ocean food chain, from plankton to fish that are on dinner tables everywhere. "The threat to the deep-sea habitat is already a done deal -- it is happening now," said Paul Montagna, a marine scientist at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of at least 200,000 gallons a day since an offshore drilling rig exploded last month and killed 11 people. On Wednesday, workers loaded a 100-ton, concrete-and-steel box the size of a four-story building onto a boat and hope to lower it to the bottom of the sea by week's end to capture some of the oil. Crews also set fires at the worst spots on the surface Wednesday to burn off oil.
Here is a look at the oil slick from an aerial perspective. (18 images)

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Shrimp boats are used to collect oil with booms in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, La., Wednesday, May 5, 2010. AP / Eric Gay


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Oil and oil sheen are seen moving past an oil rig, top right, in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, La., Wednesday, May 5, 2010. AP / Eric Gay



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In a May 4, 2010 satellite image provided by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite, an oil slick lingeres not far from the Mississippi Delta. The slick appears as an uneven gray shape immediately north of a bank of clouds. Sunlight bouncing off the ocean surface gives the oil slick a mirror-like reflection easily detected by satellite sensors. AP / NASA



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A convoy of small boats head out along the Mississippi River towards South Pass on May 4, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The Deepwater Horizon wellhead operated by BP is still leaking up to 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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A boat drives navigates the grassy wetlands near the South Pass of the Mississippi River on May 4, 2010 in Venice, Louisiana. The Deepwater Horizon wellhead operated by BP is still leaking up to 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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Boats and cranes continue construction blocking the flow of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet known as 'MRGO' on May 4, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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A shrimp boat is used to collect oil with booms in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, La., Wednesday, May 5, 2010. AP / Eric Gay



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A shrimp boat is used to collect oil with booms in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, La., Wednesday, May 5, 2010. AP / Eric Gay



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A shrimp boat is used to collect oil with booms in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, La., Wednesday, May 5, 2010. AP / Eric Gay



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In this May 4, 2010 aerial photo provided by Greenpeace, a shrimp boat hauling oil cleanup booms is surrounded by oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. AP / Greenpeace / Daniel Beltra



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This image provided by Greenpeace shows an aerial view of a shrimp boat hauling oil cleanup booms near the oil spill slowly approaching the coast of Louisiana east of the mouth of the Mississippi river Tuesday May 4, 2010. AP / Greenpeace / Daniel Beltra /



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A rig drilling a relief well and support vessels are seen in the Gulf of Mexico, La., Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at the site of the recent collapse and spill of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. AP / Eric Gay



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Oil and oil sheen are seen off an island, top, in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, La., Wednesday, May 5, 2010. AP / Eric Gay



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Containment can be seen on portions of Ship Island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana ion Wednesday, May 5, 2010. MCT / Los Angeles Times / Carolyn Cole



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Boaters make their way along the edge of the oil slick about a quarter mile from the east shore of the Chandeleur Islands in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana on Wednesday, May 5, 2010. MCT / Los Angeles Times / Carolyn Cole



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Oil can be seen on a portion the Chandeleur Islands, but much more is about a quarter mile off shore in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana on Wednesday, May 5, 2010. MCT / Los Angeles Times / Carolyn Cole



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Boaters make their way along the edge of the oil slick about a quarter mile from the east shore of the Chandeleur Islands in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana on Wednesday, May 5, 2010. MCT / Los Angeles Times / Carolyn Cole



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Boats work to lay orange oil booms May 4, 2010 around one of the Chandeleur Islands off Louisiana, as the gulf coast is still being threatened by the oil spill from the BP Deepwater Horizon platform disaster. AFP / Getty Images / Stan Honda



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