This is an archive of AGU's GeoSpace blog through 1 July 2020. New content about AGU research can be found on Eos and the AGU newsroom.

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20 June 2016

Observing bubbles from underwater gas seeps (video)

Natural oil and gas seeps exist on the ocean floor all over the world. Although humans have known about and exploited these natural resources for thousands of years, scientists know little about how oil and gas droplets disperse in deep water and how they affect underwater ecosystems.


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17 December 2015

Tiny fuel spills at gas stations can contaminate soil

The oil or gas leaks that grab headlines tend to be big events such as the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, but smaller-scale spills can be a problem, too, new research finds. Even a few drops dribbled from the nozzle of a gas station fuel pump can penetrate concrete and contaminate soil and groundwater below, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

In the past, regulators and researchers assumed that most spilled fuel would evaporate into the atmosphere, said Markus Hilpert, a hydrologist at Johns Hopkins University. The possibility that small fuel droplets might seep through the concrete pad under a gas station to the soil and water below was largely ignored, he said.


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30 May 2014

Sonar could spot oil spills hidden by Arctic ice

By Alexandra Branscombe WASHINGTON, DC –Melting summer sea ice is opening up new shipping and drilling opportunities in the Arctic, bringing with them the potential for oil spills that could become trapped under the remaining sea ice and go unseen by current oil-detection methods. Now, a team of scientists is investigating a way to use sound waves to find this elusive oil. Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts …


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28 October 2010

Beaches can harbor hidden oil long after spills

Crude oil from a spill can remain trapped for decades under a beach’s surface. A 2001 survey of beaches along Alaska’s Prince William Sound estimated that about 100 tons of oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill remained in the beaches’ lower layers, and much of it is still there, researchers say. A new study of one of those beaches found that the reason the oil becomes trapped in the …


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