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The Gulf Oil Spill: What 5,000 Barrels a Day Means

Graphic shows how big the Gulf oil spill could get if the flow rate of 5,000 barrels per day continues.
(Image: © Karl Tate)

As oil creeps onto the the Louisiana coast Friday, and officials scramble to put measures in place to protect fragile wetlands, oil continues to gush out from deep beneath the Gulf seafloor. Here's what things could look like if the oil leak, which started after the rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and then sank on April 22, 2010, doesn't get plugged.