Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Exxon Valdez

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is my third year doing the A-Z Challenge, and the third time I've had a terrible time coming up with a post for X. This year I ended up going with one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters of all time.

In March, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska and spilled between 250,000 and 750,000 barrels of crude oil.

This picture shows the oil sheen covering the Sound a few days after the spill.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The oil eventually covered more than 1,300 miles of coastline and 11,000 square miles of ocean.

The region's wildlife was crippled by the spill. An estimated 100,000 to possibly even 250,000 seabirds were killed, as well as 2,800 sea otters, 300 seals, 247 bald eagles, and countless fish.

Twenty years after the oil spill, a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina found that its effects were lasting much longer than expected and concluded that the area may take more than thirty years to recover completely.

In 2010, an estimated 23,000 gallons of Valdez crude oil remained in Alaska's sand and soil.

My A-Z theme of Alaska is inspired by my debut novel, Polar Night, which is set in Fairbanks and the Alaskan Arctic. Click here for all the info on the book. 


  1. Ugh, I hate oil spills. Like Misha said.

  2. And it could've been avoided. All those poor animals.

  3. You picked a doozy! Such a terrible disaster. Thanks for writing about it.

  4. I just got your book in the mail! Really excited to read it.

  5. That is definitely one of the worst ever. How awful that the impact is still felt to this day.

  6. I hate oil spills, they're so devastating and there are ways we could prevent them.

  7. Things like this twist my guts and give me heartache.

  8. I felt so bad when this happened.

  9. I knew this was going to make me feel old the second I read the title! lol 1989! Crazy it was that long ago...

  10. Ack! How horrible! And to think, the damage still isn't fixed after all this time... :(

  11. I remember when that happened. So much damage. And it's still ongoing, which is even sadder.

  12. That was such a terrible tragedy. It's like we don't know how to leave any place alone.

  13. The Exxon Valdez disaster was a tragic wake-up call world round. The environment had been taken for granted, and this event showed us all that life is fragile.

  14. This is so sad. Makes me think of the gulf and wonder what will happen there in years to come.

  15. I remember when that happened.

    I think I did the give away...but I'm going to got see if double entries are accepted!

  16. @Misha, yeah, it's just unreal.

    @Sheena, isn't it awful? :(

    @Alex, I know, it's so tragic.

    @Juliet, thanks for reading it!

    @Regina, oh, thanks! I hope you will like it!

    @Nick, I didn't realize the impact was still felt, I was amazed by that.

    @Laura, totally agree.

    @Al, me too.

    @Medeia, I know, and it doesn't even seem that long ago to me!

    @EJ, LOL, I felt old too.

    @Heather, I know, I couldn't believe that when I read it.

    @Carol, I remember too how awful it was.

    @Mary, so true!

    @Susan, very true.

    @MJ, that's what I thought too. I hope maybe in the years since we've learned more about clean-up so that the effects aren't as long lasting, but I doubt it. :(

    @Elisabeth, great! :)

  17. A devastating occurrence that unfortunately continues to happen.

  18. That was such a horrible accident for wildlife. The aggrivating thing is we didn't learn much from the experience. It keeps happening.

  19. Ugh I find this so depressing - anytime there's an oil spill, I just want to go out on a mountain and yell NOOOOOOOOOO!!! at the top of my lungs.

  20. WOW... Those figures are staggering and Heart Breaking....

  21. So sad. I remember it vividly, and cannot believe it has been so long.

    visiting from A~Z

  22. X is definitely the top challenge in the challenge. I had to do a little research to come up with mine.

  23. This really was such a horrific accident that has caused ongoing devastation, as many have expressed.


  24. @Nancy, true and such a shame.

    @Laura, I know, that's what is so maddening.

    @Christine, no doubt.

    @Trisha, I agree!

    @Michael, aren't they? I remember this but had kind of forgotten just how awful it really was.

    @Deb, I know, it doesn't really seem that long ago. Thanks for visiting!

    @Patricia, it's a nightmare every year LOL.

    @Julie, so true. :(

  25. It's so sad, and such a terrible waste of life, and it could have been avoided.

  26. I've never known about this one, just the BP spill from a few years back. This one was a little before my time though...

    It's so sad that things like this happen. Those poor animals and the devastation on the livelihoods of the people :(

  27. Such a travesty and so preventable

  28. x is definitely not an easy letter.

    Even with all those stats, it's hard to imagine the amount of damage done.

  29. Hi Julie .. your X is a good reminder of what was an appalling tragedy .. I remember it unfolding.

    It's terrible that we still have so many spills and disasters in our seas ... we really don't do ourselves any favours.

    I hope mankind can become less selfish sometime soon and more thoughtful about life itself.

    Cheers Hilary

  30. @Tyrean, I know, that's the worst thing about it.

    @Samantha, yeah, it was a terrible thing.

    @J, so true, unfortunately.

    @Lynda, it really is, I can't comprehend it.

    @Hilary, wouldn't that be nice? Here's hoping.


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