Beach tar accumulation, transport mechanisms, and sources of variability at Coal Oil Point, California

Tonya S. Del Sontro, Ira Leifer, Bruce P. Luyendyk, Bernardo R. Broitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

A new field method for tar quantification was used at Coal Oil Point (COP), California to study the mechanisms transporting oil/tar from the nearby COP natural marine hydrocarbon seep field. This method segregates tar pieces into six size classes and assigns them an average mass based on laboratory or direct field measurements. Tar accumulation on the 19,927 m2 survey area was well resolved spatially by recording tar mass along twelve transects segmented into 4-m2 blocks and then integrating over the survey area. A seasonal trend was apparent in total tar in which summer accumulations were an order of magnitude higher than winter accumulations. Based on multiple regression analyses between environmental data and tar accumulation, 34% of tar variability is explained by a combination of onshore advection via wind and low swell height inhibiting slick dispersion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1461-1471
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume54
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2007

Keywords

  • Oil advection
  • Oil slick
  • Santa Barbara Channel
  • Seeps
  • Tar

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