The coastal waters of lower Cook Inlet, Alaska, like many arctic areas, will undergo exploratory petroleum drilling in the near future. In preparation for the increased potential for oil spills, a field study of the coastal morphology and sediments, with emphasis on the behavior of spilled oil, was conducted in June 1976. A total of 1216 km of shoreline was classified into erosional (45%), neutral (38%) and depositional (17%) types, which were further divided into 16 subclasses on the basis of small-scale morphological features. This classification was used in conjunction with a vulnerability index of potential oil spill damage, developed through study of two major oil spills, to predict the longevity of oil in the different coastal environments of the Inlet. On a scale from 1-10, 45% of the shoreline was given low values of 1-4, which means that oil would be dispersed by natural processes within less than six months after a spill on these coasts. Values from 4-6 were assigned to 13.4% of the shoreline, where oil residence time may be up to one year. A 6-10 rating was assigned to 41.5% of the shoreline, where oil contamination may remain for periods of from two to ten years, or possibly more should no major clean-up procedures be initiated. We propose that the use of this type of vulnerability indexing, in conjunction with a biological susceptibility index and oil spill trajectory models, would provide a rational basis for decision making concerning the location of on- and off-shore oil facilities and the design of oil spill contingency plans.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Port and Ocean Engineering under Arctic Conditions (POAC 77), Newfoundland Memorial University, Canada, September 26-30, 1977.
  • Corporate Authors:

    POAC Conference 77

  • Authors:
    • Hayes, M O
    • Michel, J
    • BROWN, P J
  • Publication Date: 1977

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 12 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00167687
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Proceeding
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 13 1978 12:00AM