The Gulf Coast of the United States stretches more than 1,600 miles from Texas to the tip of the Florida peninsula and is bounded by the Gulf of Mexico, which covers more than 700,000 square miles in Southeast North America.
On April 22, 2010, the deepwater drilling platform "Deepwater Horizon," located approximately 50 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana suffered an explosion and subsequent fire which damaged the platform. After burning for hours, the drilling platform capsized and sank releasing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil slick is moving closer to ecologically sensitive fisheries, beaches, and bayous along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.
For up to date information on the federal response to the event, see the United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web site.
Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) is credited with the discovery of the Gulf Stream, a strong ocean current which flows north from the Gulf of Mexico along the Atlantic coast of the United States, where it joins the Labrador Current and flows eastward. In 1768 Benjamin Franklin and Timothy Folger produced the first map depicting the Gulf Stream which was published by the English firm of Mount and Page. The Library of Congress holds one of the three extant copies of this very rare map. The map was printed in London, England in 1768.
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration; Columbia Gazzetteer of the World, 4/2010; 4/2010