The 2007 M/V Cosco Busan Oil Spill: A Study Comparing the Fate and Weathering of the Spilled Oil from Angel Island, CA
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Heavy fuel oil from the 2007 M/V Cosco Busan oil spill on November 7, 2007 contaminated 26 miles of shoreline throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Past studies on heavy fuel have focused on those components detectable with gas chromatography (GC), the maltenes; however, up to 57% of the carbon released in a heavy oil spill is contained in the non-GC amenable, operationally defined as its solublities in solvent, asphaltene and resin fraction. Over the past two years Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program graduate student Karin Lemkau has performed a comprehensive examination on oil samples from the M/V Cosco Busan spill to determine the fate of both asphaltene and maltene fractions of this heavy fuel oil in the (marine) environment overtime. In this study, we compared oil samples from three sites on Angel Island, California located in San Francisco Bay. These samples were collected in August of 2008 and July of 2009, 295 and 616 days after the spill respectively. The collected oil was analyzed to determine fate and weathering of spilled oil and calculate the change in weight percent of asphaltenes overtime. The results from these efforts indicate that the composition of heavy fuel oil changes with time and that by day 616 oil contained, on average, a higher weight percent of asphaltenes than oil collected 295 days post spill.
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