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Pavement for the Seafloor

Pavement for the Seafloor

Heather Coleman, a graduate student from the University of California at Santa Barbara, examines a chunk of natural asphalt retrieved by the Alvin submersible from the Santa Barbara Channel. Natural oil seeps release thousands of liters of gas and oil into the ocean each day in the waters just offshore from the beach. UCSB professor Dave Valentine and WHOI chemist Chris Reddy led the cruise to examine the fate of the seeped oil as it is moved, weathered, and degraded naturally by the environment. Learning how nature handles the oil could lead researchers to better solutions for man-made oil spills. (Photo by Lance Wills, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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