Published: May 01, 2010 4:26 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Satellite images show that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is tripling in size and it has grown tremendously in just a day or so.

Satellite images analyzed by the University of Miami show the spill has expanded from the size of Rhode Island to something closer to the size of Puerto Rico, close to tripling.

Hans Graber, executive director of the university's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing, said Saturday that the spill is moving faster and expanding much quicker than estimated.

Graber says estimates of only 1,000 barrels spilling a day seem to be more public relations than anything accurate.

Efforts to cap a damaged well and the oil it's spilling into the Gulf of Mexico are not meeting with much success.

The seas have been too rough and the winds too strong for the oil to be burned off or sucked up effectively.

The inflatable booms strung along the coast to hold the muck back have been breaking loose in the choppy water.

One expert suggests the amount of oil spewing from a sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico is still being underestimated. Florida State professor Ian D. MacDonald estimates that 8 million to 9 million gallons spilled by April 28.

The Coast Guard estimates that at least 1.6 million gallons of oil have spilled.

President Barack Obama will visit the Gulf Coast on Sunday morning for a firsthand update on the massive spill from an offshore oil rig.