July 11, 2010

Florida Tar Balls: From Oil Spills?

Research done on the Florida shoreline shows that the tar balls that have been seen there for years do not contain any petroleum, as was previously believed. Or at least, they didn't before the BP oil spill.

The coast guard studied tar balls in their laboratories, and found that tar balls were not evidence of oil spills necessarily. But others said these studies were being misused to underestimate the effect of oil spills. "They try to draw the conclusion that any oil found on the beaches is actually from these natural causes," said one expert. "Their argument is if most of the oil comes from seeps, then most of the oil on beaches must come from seeps."

Florida Tar Balls

Florida's shoreline was apparently untouched by any raw petroleum before the Deepwater Horizon disaster smothered the western Panhandle with crude oil in June. That's according to what authorities consider to be the most exhaustive detective work yet on tar balls found along the state's 1,260 miles of coast. U.S. Coast Guard lab findings defy the longstanding belief that a regular ingredient of at least some of the tar balls that for years have turned up occasionally on state beaches is either crude spilled during offshore drilling or oil that seeped from natural vents under the Gulf.

Florida Tar Balls

Posted at July 11, 2010 7:50 AM