BP Oil Spill’s Sticky Remnants Wash Up Sporadically On Gulf Beaches
Tar balls from the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history continue to soil the Gulf Coast two years later, although at irregular intervals. Scientists say the tiny fragments hold clues for future understanding.
"We could have collected as many tar balls as we wanted to, from less than 1 centimeter up to 4 centimeters (.4 to 1.6 inches) in diameter," Clement said. "And these are really soft tar balls that are decaying, so there are probably also millions of tiny fragments that we can't even see. I collected over 1,000 tar balls within [an area of] about 10 miles (16 kilometers) in five hours. What does that mean? I don't know. What are the health ramifications? I don't know. But this clearly demonstrates the magnitude of the [ongoing] problem attributable to Deepwater Horizon."
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Tar balls are soft clumps of weathered oil mingled