Saturday, August 7, 2010

Florida Oil Spill | Missing Oil Found

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Photo Credit: University of South Florida
Florida Oil Spill .com put out a calll for the missing or disappearing oil. Today we found some of it buried on the beaches in the Florida panhandle. In a Study called "Ongoing Beach Cleanup of the BP Oil Spill – A Superficial Job, Literally" scientists seem to have found oil under the formerly pristine sand of some Florida Beaches. The study reviews how the oil came to be buried, out of sight and out of mind. You can view the complete story of how oil gets buried here for free. Its a real page turner, but we suspect you can guess how the oil was hidden beneath the surface.

According to scientists, the first picture, to your left "Figure 1 shows the different forms of oil contamination, including: 1) tar balls: discrete accumulations of oil <10 cm (4 inches) in diameter (Figure 1a); 2) tar patties: discrete accumulations of oil >10 cm (inches) in diameter (Figure 1b); 3) tar cakes: tar patties exceeding 3 cm in thickness (Figure 1c); 4) oil sheets: discrete, but spatially continuous accumulation of oil >5 m (15 feet) in length or width (Figure 1d); 5) oil stains: a visible thin veneer of oil coating sediment grains (Figure 1e), which cannot be mechanically separated from the sediment, as compared to the other four forms of oil contamination. All five forms of “beach oiling” are found along the nearly 300 km of beaches along the Alabama and northern Florida coast. Figure 1. Different forms of oil contamination along the Alabama and northern Florida beaches. Scales on the yellow yard stick are in inches." USF Study.
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Photo Credit:
University of South Florida

The scientists also discovered, "all forms of oil contamination as discussed above were also observed beneath the surface of the beach, buried at various depths within several tidal cycles, i.e., few days. Figure 5a shows continuous oil sheet buried within the foreshore subenvironment under calm wave conditions during the oil beachfall on June 24, 2010. The subsurface oil layer dipped seaward following the antecedent foreshore topography, buried up to 10 inches at the seaward end and pinching out at depth of 2 inches under the active berm crest within one tidal cycle." USF Study

A shout out to the USF team including: Ping Wang and Tiffany M. Roberts Coastal Research Laboratory, Department of Geology, University of South Florida, Tampa, James (Rip) Kirby, Jun Cheng, Katherine E. Brutsche, Mark H. Horwitz, and Stoddard Pickrel.