The Fate of Amoco Cadiz Oil

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Science  08 Jul 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4606, pp. 122-129
DOI: 10.1126/science.221.4606.122


The Amoco Cadiz oil spill (223,000 metric tons) of March 1978 is the largest and best studied tanker spill in history. Of the total oil lost, 30,000 tons (13.5 percent) rapidly became incorporated into the water column, 18,000 tons (8 percent) were deposited in subtidal sediments, 62,000 tons (28 percent) washed into the intertidal zone, and 67,000 tons (30 percent) evaporated. While still at sea, approximately 10,000 tons of oil were degraded microbiologically. After 3 years, the most obvious effects of the spill have passed, although hydrocarbon concentrations remain elevated in those estuaries and marshes that were initially most heavily oiled.