The Onshore Transport of an Oil Spill by Internal Waves

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Science  06 Mar 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4793, pp. 1198-1200
DOI: 10.1126/science.235.4793.1198


Internal waves generated by tidal currents concentrated and transported an oil spill (liquid asphalt) onshore. Plankton net samples were collected in front of and behind a set of internal waves as well as in the convergence and divergence zones over the waves. Tar "balls" were most abundant (greater than 30-fold) in the samples from the convergence zone. Comparison of the abundance of tar balls in front of and behind the set of waves suggests that the internal waves "caught" about 68% of the asphalt encountered and concentrated and swept shoreward tar balls from almost 8 kilometers of ocean.

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