TitleSimulating the influence of physicochemical parameters on subsurface oil on beaches: preliminary results.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsBernabeu AM, Rey D, Lago A, Vilas F
JournalMarine pollution bulletin
Date Publishedaug
KeywordsBathing Beaches, Biodegradation, Chemical, Chemical Hazard Release, Environmental, Environmental Monitoring, Kinetics, Models, Petroleum, Petroleum: analysis, Petroleum: metabolism, Silicon Dioxide, Silicon Dioxide: chemistry
AbstractMonitoring of sandy beaches after the Prestige oil spill revealed thick subsurface layers (up to 1m thick) of grey-coloured sand. These horizons were sometimes found under more than 3m of clean sand. Examination of the sand by electron microscopy confirmed that the colouring was due to oil-coated sand grains, and revealed a sequence of degradation of buried oil. Further analysis of the sand revealed high concentrations of hydrocarbon in the oil-coated sand and that the main biomarkers were indicative of biodegradation, even though the oil was buried. A set of experiments was designed to analyze the evolution of oil from tar balls to coatings. The results revealed that biodegradation is a secondary process in the changes that take place in the buried oil, and that water flow slows down the appearance of grey sand and that low salinity may hinder the oil degradation process.