Public Release: 

New study shows that oil from surface-spill slicks can sink to sea floor

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News


IMAGE: Environmental Engineering Science, the official journal of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly online with open-access options. Publishing state-of-the-art studies... view more

Credit: ©Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, July 8, 2015--A first of its kind study that modeled oil slick weathering over time in a laboratory setting provides evidence that evaporation combined with sinking of the heavy components of surface-spill slicks can explain the presence of oil on the sea floor. This critical proof-of-concept addresses the ongoing controversy regarding the large amounts of oil found at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and will impact future oil slick modeling and clean-up strategies. The study is published in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Environmental Engineering Science website until August 8, 2015.

Christopher Clayton Stevens, Louis Thibodeaux, Edward Overton, et al., Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, used laboratory-scale and mathematical modeling methods to show that after a certain amount of evaporation had taken place and the slick reached a critical density and it's buoyancy relative to the water changed. Droplets comprising heavy oil residues then formed underneath the slick, broke away, and sank to the sea floor.

In the article "Sea Surface Oil Slick Light Component Vaporization and Heavy Residue Sinking: Binary Mixture Theory and Experimental Proof of Concept," the researchers describe the theories and mechanisms underlying their models and the implications of their results.

"This paper provides evidence for an interesting new perspective on the fate of hydrocarbons after an oil spill, and may have significant implications for both modeling and remedial actions," says Domenico Grasso, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Engineering Science and Provost, University of Delaware.


About the Journal

Environmental Engineering Science, the official journal of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly online with Open Access options. Publishing state-of-the-art studies of innovative solutions to problems in air, water, and land contamination and waste disposal, the Journal features applications of environmental engineering and scientific discoveries, policy issues, environmental economics, and sustainable development including climate change, complex and adaptive systems, contaminant fate and transport, environmental risk assessment and management, green technologies, industrial ecology, environmental policy, and energy and the environment. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Environmental Engineering Science website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Industrial Biotechnology, Sustainability: The Journal of Record, and Environmental Justice. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, newsmagazines, and books is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

About the Association

The Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) is made up of professors in academic programs throughout the world who provide education in the sciences and technologies of environmental protection. The mission of AEESP is to assist its members in the development and dissemination of knowledge in environmental engineering and science. AEESP seeks to strengthen and advance the discipline of environmental science and engineering by providing leadership, promoting cooperation amongst academics and others within and outside the discipline, and serving as a liaison between its membership and other professional societies, governmental agencies, industry and nonprofit organizations.

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