USF Geologists Find Beaches Teeming With Tiny Tar Balls
As researchers from USF's Coastal Research Laboratory examined miles of beaches of north Florida and Alabama last month, they discovered beaches hit by oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill and then "cleaned" by BP crews were anything but clean.
The sand, on the surface, looked better after crews had passed and was somewhat whiter, the scientists noted. But when University of South Florida beach geologist Ping Wang and researchers from his lab looked closer into the once pristine white quartz sands, they found that after beach-cleaning machines had combed the area, the beach was covered with thousands of tiny tar balls.
Furthermore, the beach cleanup efforts were doing nothing to address layers of oil buried inches below the sand and accounting for possibly more than half of the beach contamination.
"We estimate that less than 25% of the overall oil contamination, including both surficial and buried oil was cleaned," Wang and PhD student Tiffany Roberts wrote...