THE ENVIRONMENTAL FATE OF STRANDED CRUDE OIL

The weathering history of two light paraffinic crude oils which were stranded on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, U.S.A., and on Bermuda has been studied over periods of 13-1/2 and 16 months, respectively. We describe the evaporative history of the oils, the microbial utilization of the normal alkanes and other physical and chemical changes involved in the weathering process. At both locations a considerable and environmentally important fraction of the oil has persisted throughout the entire survey period. The residues are far from being inert asphalts; they remain crude oils, modified by evaporation of the lower boiling components and by partial microbial degradation. The environmental impact of spilled oil depends directly on the magnitude of the standing crop of fossil fuels and on the retention during weathering of specific biologically active oil components. Our work demonstrates an unanticipated degree of persistence of oil and of its high boiling components, even under conditions thought favorable to weathering. Wax aggregates in one of the oils suggest that it was derived from tank washings. A survey for wax in open ocean 'tar' should give insight into its sources and the effectiveness of measures to control oil pollution.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Pergamon Press, Incorporated

    Headington Hill Hall
    Oxford OX30BW,   England 
  • Authors:
    • Blumer, M
    • Ehrhardt, M
    • JONES, J H
  • Publication Date: 1973

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00046157
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Deep-Sea Research and Oceanographic Abstracts
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 31 1973 12:00AM