Images: Popular Way to Assess Oil Spills Can Be Misused
The “pom-pom” method uses long
strands of absorbent polypropylene swabs, which look like cheerleaders’
pom-poms, dragged along ocean- or river-bottom sediments to locate large areas where
spilled oil has sunk. The method is
because it offers a rapid, low-cost results, but a marine chemist at
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has cautioned that the method is
in danger of being misused.
(Courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
Following the November 2007 oil spill in Francisco Bay, Chris Reddy, a
marine chemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Insitution, collects oil
samples at Pirates Cove, Marin County, Calif.
In November 2007, the 900-foot-long
M/V Cosco Busan struck the
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (not the Golden Gate Bridge in the
background here). The collision tore a 200-foot hole in its hull and
spilling 58,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil into San Francisco Bay.
(Photo by Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin J. Neff)
M/V Cosco Busan oil spill killed wildlife and closed
beaches, but officials also had to assess whether oil had sunk into
ocean sediments that were dredged for use in a tidal wetlands
(Photo courtesy of NOAA)