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Exxon Valdez oil spill facts for kids

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Exxon Valdez oil spill
Three days after Exxon Valdez ran aground
Location Prince William Sound, Alaska
Coordinates 60°50′27″N 146°51′45″W / 60.8408°N 146.8625°W / 60.8408; -146.8625Coordinates: 60°50′27″N 146°51′45″W / 60.8408°N 146.8625°W / 60.8408; -146.8625
Date March 24, 1989; 32 years ago (1989-03-24)
Cause Grounding of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker
Operator Exxon Shipping Company
Spill characteristics
Volume 10.8×10^6 US gal (260,000 bbl; 41,000 m3) (or 37,000 metric tonnes)
Shoreline impacted 1,300 mi (2,100 km)
People trying to clean up some rocks after the spill

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was a shipping accident that happened off the coast of the United States on March 24, 1989. An oil tanker, the Exxon Valdez, hit the Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. At the time of the disaster, the ship carried 53,094,510 U.S. gallons (44,210,430 imp gal/200,984,600 L) of crude oil. The accident caused a massive oil spill: 10.8 million U.S. gallons (9.0 million imp gal/41 million L) were spilled into the Prince William Sound. It was one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in the history of the United States.

The ship had left the shipping lanes because of icebergs. The ship never returned to the shipping lane and hit Bligh Reef at around 12:04 AM. Later, people looked at the causes, and found that the people on board were badly trained and overworked. What made things worse was the fact that the government was not prepared to handle a disaster with such large consequences for the environment. This disaster badly damaged the ecosystems of the area.

Immediate effects included the deaths of 100,000 to as many as 250,000 seabirds, at least 2,800 sea otters, approximately 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 247 bald eagles, and 22 orcas, and an unknown number of salmon and herring.

Some of the methods tried to clean up the oil were: burning, mechanical cleaning, and chemical dispersants.

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