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Open-File Report 2013–1074

Change in the Length of the Northern Section of the Chandeleur Islands Oil Berm, September 5, 2010, through September 3, 2012

By N.G. Plant and K.K. Guy

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On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig drilling at the Macondo Prospect site in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in a marine oil spill that continued to flow through July 15, 2010. One of the affected areas was the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, which consists of a chain of low-lying islands, including Breton Island and the Chandeleur Islands, and their surrounding waters. The island chain is located approximately 115–150 kilometers north-northwest of the spill site. A sand berm was constructed seaward of, and on, the island chain. Construction began at the northern end of the Chandeleur Islands in June 2010 and ended in April 2011. The berm consisted of three distinct sections based on where the berm was placed relative to the islands. The northern section of the berm was built in open water on a submerged portion of the Chandeleur Islands platform. The middle section was built approximately 70–90 meters seaward of the Chandeleur Islands. The southern section was built on the islands’ beaches. Repeated Landsat and SPOT satellite imagery and airborne lidar were used to observe the disintegration of the berm over time. The methods used to analyze the remotely sensed data and the resulting, derived data for the northern section are described in this report.

First posted April 1, 2013

For additional information contact:
Director, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
600 Fourth Street South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701–4846
(727) 803–8747

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Suggested citation:

Plant, N.G., and Guy, K.K., 2013, Change in the length of the northern section of the Chandeleur Islands oil berm, September 5, 2010, through September 3, 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1074, 9 p., available at






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