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The Tale of the Arizona

The Tale of the Arizona

October 29, 2018

This two-dimensional gas chromatogram created by WHOI technician Bob Nelson from samples collected by chemist Chris Reddy tells a very special story. In July 2018, Reddy traveled to Pearl Harbor to collect samples from near the USS Arizona, which been leaking oil since it was sunk on December 7, 1941. Reddy was part of a team that included U.S. Coast Guard Cadets studying the deterioration of the ship’s hull, and the technique he used to analyze his samples revealed the unique “fingerprint” of the oil coming from the ship to distinguish it from future spills that might occur in the harbor. He has used the same method on oil from Deepwater Horizon, as well as other spills and natural hydrocarbon seeps. (Image courtesy of Robert K. Nelson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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