Fate and Effects of Crude Oil Spilled on Permafrost Terrain.
Annual progress rept. no. 2, Jun 76-Jul 77,
COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB HANOVER N H
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A study was initiated in 1975 to evaluate the fate and effects of crude oil spilled on a taiga-covered permafrost site in Alaska. During this second year of the study the logistical portion of the experiments was completed with a spill of hot Prudhoe Bay crude oil in July 1976. This spill was compared with one that took place in February 1976 reported upon in the first annual progress report. Studies on the differences in the fate of the oil, its effects on the permafrost, and its impact on the biological communities were continued and expanded. Oil moved downslope at a much faster rate during the summer spill than during the winter spill. In the winter the oil cooled and pooled rapidly. The summer spill covered approximately one-thrid more surface area than did the winter spill in the final configuration, even though the two spills were of almost identical volume. Increases in microbial populations and activities during the months following the spill were evident. Increased counts of bacteria, yeasts, denitrifying bacteria, and petroleum-degrading bacteria following the oil spills were particularly evident. Analysis of the oils decomposition using gas chromatography techniques indicated that the low molecular weight fractions, methane and ethane, were lost almost immediately after the spill in each case.
- Snow, Ice and Permafrost
- Civil Engineering