03/24/2014 10:56 am ET

Remembering The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, 25 Years Later

March 24, 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. The Exxon Valdez oil spill began when a 987-foot-long oil tanker ran aground on a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The spill stood as the worst in U.S. history until BP's Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The Exxon Valdez released an estimated 10.8 million gallons of crude oil before the spill was contained, fouling about 1,300 miles of coastline. The remote location of the spill and a delayed and inadequate response from Exxon and Trans-Alaska Pipeline operator Alyeska made matters even worse.

A recent federal report showed that sea otters have recovered to their pre-spill numbers in the most affected areas, but many serious impacts from the 1989 spill still linger even a quarter century later. In fact, small amounts of oil are still visible on beaches in the Gulf of Alaska.

The images below reveal the dramatic effects of the spill and its enormous toll on the wildlife, landscape and people of southern Alaska.

Exxon Valdez Spill

(Photos continue in the slideshow below.)



Remembering The Exxon Valdez Spill