Research Spotlight: Why has oil from the Exxon Valdez persisted so long on beaches?

Authors


Abstract

[1] The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill released more than 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska, polluting 800 kilometers of beaches. In some areas the spilled oil has persisted on beaches more than 20 years later. To examine the factors affecting the persistence of oil from the spill, Xia et al conducted field studies and numerical modeling of the hydrogeological characteristics of a shallow bedrock beach on Knight Island in western Prince William Sound, the area most heavily polluted by the spill. (Water Resources Research, doi:10.1029/2010WR009179, 2010)