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STUDY: Oil from BP Spill Not Disintegrating

21 Sep 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: General Environment

Oil leftover from last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill is not breaking down on the ocean floor, a recent study by Auburn University has found.

Because of the naturally low-oxygen levels along the sandy beds of the Gulf, the oil is not disintegrating as scientists had hoped. The researchers, who studied tar balls that washed ashore Mexican beaches earlier this month during Tropical Storm Lee,  found that the oil appeared  fresh, smelled strongly and had not changed chemically from samples taken in the immediate aftermath of the spill.

Large tar mats of fresh oil remain on the ocean floor and continue to pose a serious, long-term threat to coastal ecosystems, the study concluded.

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