Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-5:30 PM
EXPLORING POST B.P. OIL SPILL SEDIMENT COMPOSITION UTILIZING MULTIPLE TECHNIQUES: MICROSCOPY, SEM, EDS, XRF, XRD
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill discharged a total of 4.9 million barrels into the N.E. Gulf of Mexico, much of which has yet to be accounted for. Sediment cores collected in the N.E. Gulf of Mexico following the event exhibited a surficial (1-6cm thick), fine grained layer deposited at rates sometimes exceeding one order-of-magnitude greater than those of underlying sediments. The objective of this study is to determine whether this surficial layer differs compositionally from underlying, previously deposited sediments. Multiple techniques including: Dino-Lite Microscope, SEM, EDS, XRF, and XRD, are being employed. Initial SEM results from three cores show a presence of five predominate elements, including Si, O, Al, Ca, and C. The most abundant are consistently Si, O, and Al. No systematic differences from underlying sediment layers have been observed to date, suggesting that although accumulation rates increased dramatically, it is unlikely sediment source(s) have changed significantly.