Factors influencing the fate of oil spilled on shorelines: a review

Zheng Wang, Chunjiang An, Kenneth Lee, Edward Owens, Zhi Chen, Michel Boufadel, Elliott Taylor, Qi Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Accidental oil spills in ocean may occur during exploration, production, transportation and use. The spilled oil frequently reaches shoreline where it may harm more or less the ecosystem depending on the physicochemical properties of spilled oil. Here, we review the physicochemical behavior of petroleum hydrocarbons, such as crude oil and refined products, on various types of shorelines under various environmental conditions. During migration to the shore, the oil characteristics can change by evaporation, photooxidation, partition and aggregation. The penetration, remobilization and retention of stranded oil on shorelines are affected by the beach topography and the natural environment. We also discuss the attenuation and fate of oil on shorelines from laboratory and field experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1611-1628
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry


  • Environmental factors
  • Fate and transport
  • Oil spill
  • Physicochemical behaviors
  • Shoreline


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