Thursday, May 21, 2009

Natural Oil 'Spills': Surprising Amount Seeps Into Sea

While the amount of oil and its ultimate fate in such manmade disasters is well known, the effect and size of natural oil seeps on the ocean floor is murkier. A new study finds that the natural petroleum seeps off Santa Barbara, Calif., have leaked out the equivalent of about eight to 80 Exxon Valdez oil spills over hundreds of thousands of years. These spills create an oil fallout shadow that contaminates the sediments around the seep, with the oil content decreasing farther from the seep. There is effectively an oil spill every day at Coal Oil Point (COP), the natural seeps off Santa Barbara where 20 to 25 tons of oil have leaked from the seafloor each day for the last several hundred thousand years...Fox News

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I lived inland near COP for many years and when the wind was just right we could smell the seeps. As a kid, I recall walking in the area with tar covered "beach shoes" that my mom kept in a basket in the garage for just such occasions. Still, if we went barefoot, as kids on a sand beach are likely to do, she would scold us to remove the tar with baby oil from the soles of our feet before coming in the house. We did so lest we incur her wrath by getting tar in the fibers of her new green shag carpet (this was the 70s).