A tracer study in an Alaskan gravel beach and its implications on the persistence of the Exxon Valdez oil

Hailong Li, Michel C. Boufadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite great efforts including bioremediation, the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spills persist in many gravel beaches in Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA. To explore this mystery, a lithium tracer study was conducted along two transects on one of these beaches. The tracer injections and transports were successfully simulated using the 2-dimensional numerical model MARUN. The tracer stayed much longer in the oil-persisting, right transect (facing landwand) than in the clean, left transect. If the tracer is approximately regarded as oils, oils in the upper layer would have more opportunities to enter the lower layer in the right transect than in the left one. This may qualitatively explain the oil persistence within the right transect. When the tracer is regarded as nutrients, the long stay of nutrients within the right transect implies that the oil persistence along the right transect was not due to the lack of nutrients during the bioremediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1261-1269
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume62
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

Keywords

  • Bioremediation
  • Nutrient application
  • Oil-spills
  • Seawater-groundwater interaction
  • Tidal beach
  • Tracer study

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