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Outreach

USGS Residual Oil Research Presented at Two Public Seminars



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U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) oceanographer Soupy Dalyander recently presented residual oil research at two public seminars organized to inform natural resource managers, oil spill responders, and the public on scientific understanding of oil spills.

Soupy Dalyander describes research into the seafloor interaction and transport of sand and oil agglomerates
Above: Soupy Dalyander describes research into the seafloor interaction and transport of sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs) and how numerical models built to describe those processes were used to inform the Deepwater Horizon clean-up effort. Photo Credit: Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. [larger version]

During the Deepwater Horizon spill, floating oil that came into the surf zone of the northern Gulf of Mexico mixed with sediment to form sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs) or “sinking tarballs.” USGS research has focused on the physical dynamics of SOAs, which were a persistent mechanism of beach oiling following Deepwater Horizon. Research was initiated in 2012 at the request of the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (the representative of the U.S. Coast Guard overseeing the clean-up response to the Deepwater Horizon spill), who asked USGS scientists to participate in the Operational Science Advisory Team (OSAT3), which was tasked with developing and applying a method for evaluating the movement and seafloor interaction of SOAs to facilitate their clean up. For that initial effort, numerical model output and sediment mobility and transport formulations were used to predict the seafloor interaction and transport of SOAs. Key findings, including identifying a high probability of SOA burial and exhumation, determining probable longshore transport patterns, and identifying inlets as likely traps of SOAs, were used to inform the clean-up response. The USGS has since continued to work on reducing uncertainty in the developed formulations through field and laboratory studies of artificial sand and oil agglomerates (aSOAs, below). (A Sound Waves article about this work, “Tracking Oil—USGS Tools and Analysis Inform Response to Deepwater Horizon and Future Oil Spills,” was published in 2014.)

Artificial sand and oil agglomerates (aSOAs) deployed in a small-scale oscillatory flow tank at the Naval Research Laboratory
Above: Artificial sand and oil agglomerates (aSOAs) deployed in a small-scale oscillatory flow tank at the Naval Research Laboratory. Under the flow conditions displayed, the immobile 5-centimeter diameter aSOAs in the tank were buried by migrating sand ripples. [larger version]

The results of this research and how the developed formulations were applied in response to the Deepwater Horizon were presented at two forums. The first seminar, “Oil Spill Science Seminar: Impacts of Oil on Coastal Habitats,” was hosted by the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Outreach Team and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on July 22, 2015, in Temple Terrace, Florida. The second seminar, “Navigating Shifting Sands: Oil on our Beaches,” was hosted by Mississippi–Alabama Sea Grant in Pensacola, Florida, on August 5, 2015. Represented at the seminars were oil spill emergency response agencies, natural resource managers, and the public, and the agendas included presentations on oil spill research as well as open forum question and answer sessions.

The full citations for research presented at the seminars are:

  • Plant, N.G., Long, J.W., Dalyander, P.S., Thompson, D.M., Raabe, E.A., 2013, Application of a hydrodynamic and sediment transport model for guidance of response efforts related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Northern Gulf of Mexico along the coast of Alabama and Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1234, 46 p. [http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2012/1234/].
  • Dalyander, P.S., Long, J.W., Plant, N.G., Thompson, D.M., 2014, Assessing mobility and redistribution patterns of sand and oil agglomerates in the surf zone: Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 80, no. 1–2, p. 200–209 [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.01.004].
  • Dalyander, P.S., Plant, N.G., Long, J.W., McLaughlin, M., 2015, Nearshore dynamics of artificial sand and oil agglomerates: Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 96, no. 1–2, p. 344–355 [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.04.049].


Related Sound Waves Stories
Tracking Oil—USGS Tools and Analysis Inform Response to Deepwater Horizon and Future Oil Spills
May / June 2014

Related Websites
Oil Spill Science Seminar: Impacts of Oil on Coastal Habitats
Sea Grant in the Gulf of Mexico
Navigating Shifting Sands: Oil on our Beaches
Sea Grant in the Gulf of Mexico
Open-File Report 2012–1234
USGS
Assessing mobility and redistribution patterns of sand and oil agglomerates in the surf zone
Marine Pollution Bulletin
Nearshore dynamics of artificial sand and oil agglomerates
Marine Pollution Bulletin

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in this issue:

Fieldwork
cover story:
Sampling Atlantic Margin Methane Seeps and Plumes

USGS Completes Second Expedition for Atlantic Submarine-Landslide Studies

Spotlight on Sandy
“Team Delmarva” Completes Seafloor Mapping off Delmarva Peninsula

Research
Pathways to the Abyss

Outreach
USGS Residual Oil Research Presented at Two Public Seminars

USGS Hosts USF Oceanography Camp for Girls

USGS Continues Collaboration for Native Youth in Science

USGS Assists in Another Year of Woods Hole Partnership in Education

Staff
New Production Team for Sound Waves

Publications
Oct. / Nov. Publications

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