Greenpoint Oil Spill: A Brief History

Brooklyn, N.Y. offers a variety of cultural pitstops for any looking to take in America's history. However, beneath the city lies an insidious landmark that may catch even the most experienced New Yorker by surprise -- a large plume of oil that is considered to be one of the largest spills in U.S. history. 

For more than 60 years, those millions of gallons of fossil fuel have been entangled in political and legislative brawls that have left much of the oil product uncollected and unstudied. 

Nigeria's Oil: A Brief History

SosialistiskUngdom - SU / Flickr

Since oil operations began, 546 million gallons of oil have spilled into Nigeria's Niger Delta. 

That's the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez Disaster happening every year for nearly 50 years. 

The most controversial spills come from pipeline blasts. Over the past two decades, at least a dozen pipeline disasters have killed thousands in Nigeria. 

Windscale Fire Disaster: A Brief History

During the post-WWII nuclear arms race, nations worldwide amped up their nuclear energy production to use not only for power, but for weapons as well. Great Britain joined the trend by constructing the Windscale power plant as an answer to the United States' Hanford reactor in Benton County, Wash., which provided the plutonium for the world's first atomic test in 1945. 

Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster: A Brief History

On April 5, 2010, an explosion took place at Massey Energy Co.'s Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, W. Va. The mine was operated by Performance Coal Company, a Massey Energy subsidiary.

Mine rescue procedures began immediately. Although 25 bodies were recovered in the first hours, the rescue workers had unknowingly walked past the bodies of four missing men for four days because of the amount of smoke, debris and ash. 

Lakeview Gusher: A Brief History

San Joaquin Geological Society

The Lakeview Well erupted on March 15, 1910, releasing a geyser of dark oil that shot into the sky. As days passed, the “Lakeview Gusher” showed little sign of being halted.

According to The Bakersfield Californian, the gusher was still "as strenuous as ever" by its 22nd day. Workers attempted to cover the fountain-like spray with an immense “hood” in the hopes of conserving more oil.

Ecuador Vs. Chevron-Texaco: A Brief History

Caroline / Rainforest Action Network

After years of searching for oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Gulf Oil Corp. and Texaco Petroleum Company began major shipments of oil from the region in 1972, when the Trans-Ecuadorian pipeline was completed.

Pennsylvania Fracking Blowout Causes Shutdown Of Gas Drilling Statewide

4/22/10 UPDATE: According to AP, the flow of fracking fluid has been stopped. However, officials have not announced a cause for the disaster.


Although officials maintain that Pennsylvania's latest natural gas blowout will have "no adverse effects", the disaster has prompted the Chesapeake Energy Corp. to suspend gas drilling across the state.

Atlantic Empress And Aegean Captain Oil Spill: A Brief History

Photo credit: Hein Hinrichs / VLCC Tankers

Just over a month after Mexico's Ixtoc Oil Spill, the collision of two supertankers in the Caribbean created one of the largest oil spills ever recorded. But if the name doesn't ring a bell, you're not alone. 

Because the public's focus was elsewhere, much of what occurred washed away with the waves. 

Amoco Cadiz: A Brief History

The American owned supertanker, Amoco Cadiz, crashed off of the coast of Brittany, France on March 16, 1978.

Oil poured onto beaches and fishing grounds, creating what was predicted to turn into the worst tanker spill ever recorded.

Three Mile Island: A Brief History

On March 28, 1979, began to experience a partial core meltdown in Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County.

Officials declared an onsite emergency after a reading showed 1,200 millirems two days after the accident. Pennsylvania put civil defense teams on alert to evacuate the surrounding area.