Title: Lingering Oil on Boulder-Armored Beaches in the Gulf of Alaska 22 Years after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Project Year and Number: 2011: 11100112
Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: None
Principal Investigator (PI): Gail Irvine
Research Location: Prince William Sound
Restoration Category: Research
Injured Resources Addressed: Not Specified
Abstract: We want to continue long-term monitoring of lingering oil at six Gulf of Alaska sites where we have tracked the fate and persistence of stranded Exxon Valdez oil over the last 22 years. It has been six years since our last survey revealed that relatively unweathered oil still persisted at some sites. Interestingly these sites have less weathered oil (e.g., contains more n-alkanes) than similarly aged oil from Prince William Sound. All five of our monitoring sites on the Katmai National Park coast are boulder beaches with high wave energies. Accepted knowledge predicted that rapid natural weathering of stranded oil would occur in such settings. This was not the case, and we are still figuring out why. We think it is because the boulder armors that cover these shorelines protect the underlying oil. In addition to resampling our monitoring plots, we will be testing to see if oil is leaking out from these beaches. By extending our long term study of oil stranded on this little understood shoreline type, we will contribute important new data useful for predicting the geographic distribution of lingering oil, assessing its potential for continued pollution, and designing methods for its remediation.
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Proposal: View PDF (71 KB)
Funding Recommendations: View
Annual Reports: 2011: View (32 KB) 2012: Due 09/01/2012
Final Report: View
Publications from this Project: None Available