06/01/2010 03:19 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gulf Oil Spill: Unanswered Questions, Fact Check

WASHINGTON - The impatient nation isn't getting answers fast enough in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

As the oil spreads, people on the Gulf Coast, in Washington and elsewhere want answers in a New York minute. But these mysteries of the deep are not yielding easily.

Over three weeks, more than a dozen congressional hearings and scores of hours of witness testimony did not get to the rupture's cause or its full effects. Many more inquiries are ahead. But then such hearings, especially in an election year, are often designed more to give lawmakers a stage to rant against a politically safe target than to find facts.

Vital clues, such as the burned-out behemoth of a rig and a safety device that was supposed to prevent such a blowout, rest under a mile of water accessible only by remote-controlled vessels. Some of the crewmen who manned the rig at the moment of crisis, including two responsible for shutting the oil flow, are dead.

Here are some of the biggest looming questions to this point and a fact check on each.

Gulf Oil Spill: Unanswered Questions