March 24th 1989: Exxon Valdez oil spill
On this day in 1989, hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil were spilled into Prince William Sound in Alaska by the Exxon Valdez oil tanker after it ran aground. Between eleven and thirty-two million gallons of oil were spilled, creating one of the worst human-caused environmental disasters in history. The cleanup operation was especially difficult due to the Sound’s remote location which was only accessible by air or by boat. The spill damaged the local habitat, covering 1,300 miles of coastline and 11,000 square miles of ocean. It was the largest ever oil spill in American waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Whilst the cleanup operation was completed, it is believed that the oil will continue to have a negative effect on the area for many years.