Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oiled Birds Prompt Study By UCSB Experts

Date:
February 1, 2005
Source:
University Of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
Oil-coated birds turning up on southern California beaches in recent weeks have raised concern about potential oil sources. The Coal Oil Point seep field, located offshore and adjacent to the University of California, Santa Barbara, is one of the biggest natural marine oil and gas seeps in the world and is the predominant source of oil to southern California waters.

Aerial photos off Coal Oil Point of a small portion of the Coal Oil Point seep field. Typical oil emissions from this seep area are shown in the left image (Current is to west, left). Right image shows typical conditions observed since the winter storms (Current is to east, right). Photos courtesy of Ira Leifer, UCSB, and Chris McCullough, Calif Dept of Conservation, Division Oil and Gas.

Santa Barbara, Calif. –– Oil-coated birds turning up on southern California beaches in recent weeks have raised concern about potential oil sources. The Coal Oil Point seep field, located offshore and adjacent to the University of California, Santa Barbara, is one of the biggest natural marine oil and gas seeps in the world and is the predominant source of oil to southern California waters. Extensive oil slicks have been observed near Coal Oil Point since the recent severe storms pummeled the region in January. These slicks are significantly larger than typically seen in the area, including just before the storms. Since 1994, scientists at UCSB have been studying the Coal Oil Point seep field, including using sonar to map the seepage.

Recently UCSB scientists participated in aerial surveys of the northern channel. Current oil emissions appear to be many times pre-storm levels, estimated at 4,200 gallons per day. (Photos at www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/1233-seep/)

New areas of seepage have appeared and were confirmed by boat surveys. Scientists at UCSB are studying a possible relationship between the storms and these increased oil emissions.

Bruce Luyendyk, professor of marine geophysics at UCSB, poses two hypotheses for the apparently vast increase in oil seepage following the storms. "The rain may have changed the subsurface hydrology, creating higher driving pressure of the seepage," he said.

A second hypothesis is that sea floor tar and sediment blockages may have been removed by the storms, allowing an increase in the flow.

"Both oil and gas are coming out," explained Ira Leifer, a scientist with UCSB's Marine Science Institute. "Gas drives the oil because it is lighter," he said. "We can measure the amount of gas with sonar because the sonar's sound bounces off the bubbles. We also measure how much oil is escaping with the gas."

###

Many agencies are involved in supporting the research and funding of studies of seeps and the environment. The University of California Energy Institute has funded this work at UCSB. Other participating agencies that support seep research include the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of Interior, the Office of Spill Prevention and Response of the California Department of Fish and Game, the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society, and the United States Geological Survey.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Santa Barbara. "Oiled Birds Prompt Study By UCSB Experts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050131223834.htm>.
University Of California - Santa Barbara. (2005, February 1). Oiled Birds Prompt Study By UCSB Experts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050131223834.htm
University Of California - Santa Barbara. "Oiled Birds Prompt Study By UCSB Experts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050131223834.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins