Chapter 13

Sunken and Submerged Oil

J. Michel1, and K.A. Hansen2     1Research Planning, Inc., Columbia, SC, United States     2U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center, Groton, CT, United States


When spilled oil does not float, responders are faced with special challenges. Case studies of 31 past spills where the oil either sank or become submerged in the water column were reviewed to identify the oil properties and spill conditions that are most likely to cause oil to sink or submerge. Oils that are heavier than the receiving water will sink below the surface, but often are submerged in the water column by turbulence. Oils that are lighter than the receiving water can initially float, then sink after mixing with sand, either by ...

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