The Exxon Valdez oil spill has been linked to the deaths of between 100,000 and 150,000 seabirds.

Photograph courtesy the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council
  • On March 24, 1989, an oil tanker called the Exxon Valdez accidentally crashed into a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The tanker carried about 208 million liters (55 million of gallons) of oil. When it crashed, the Exxon Valdez spilled about 42 million liters (11 million gallons) into Prince William Sound.

    This spill was one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. The remote location of Prince William Sound meant that emergency workers and equipment took a long time to arrive. The spill affected salmon, sea otters, seals, and birds. Exxon was fined $507.5 million in punitive damages.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    emergency Noun

    sudden, unplanned event that requires immediate action.

    equipment Noun

    tools and materials to perform a task or function.

    oil Noun

    fossil fuel formed from the remains of marine plants and animals. Also known as petroleum or crude oil.

    oil tanker Noun

    large ship used for transporting petroleum.

    reef Noun

    a ridge of rocks, coral, or sand rising from the ocean floor all the way to or near the ocean's surface.

    Encyclopedic Entry: reef
    remote Adjective

    distant or far away.

    sound Noun

    body of water, larger than a bay, partially surrounded by land.