If some scientists, who say BP and the U.S. Coast Guard are underestimating how much oil is leaking now, are right, the current gusher could easily eclipse the demise of Ixtoc I in the Bay of Campeche. By their count, instead of the 210,000 gallons leaking per day, it's more like 4 million.
``Everybody keeps saying the spill in the Gulf is unprecedented,'' said geologist John Amos, president and founder of SkyTruth, a nonprofit that investigates environmental issues using satellite images. ``That is such bull----t. We had perfect precedence.''
THE IXTOC I
When the Ixtoc I burst into flames on June, 3, 1979, Wes Tunnell and other researchers had to figure out how long it would take the current to carry the oil, in one form or another, 600 miles to south Texas.
``We projected that it would reach the Texas coast in about two months. It exactly did,'' he said. By August, ``it coated the Texas beaches in a ribbon of oil 30 to 50 feet in width from Rio Grande to Port Aransas.''