Tar on Your Swimming Cozzie?

C.A. Lewis1, C.P. Harman1,2, K.L. Pinfold1, C.E. Reeves1,3, P.T.V. Wilkes1,4 and H.K. Wilson1


Petroleum and Environmental Geochemistry Group, SEOES, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, U.K.
2 Present Address: Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadalleen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway
3 Present Address: URSQatar LLC, Bin Jaham Al Kuwari Building, AlSadd Street, P.O. Box 22108, Doha, Qatar
4 Present Address: Air Quality Unit, Faculty of Business, Enterprise and IT, Cornwall College Camborne, Cornwall TR15 3RD, U.K.

Presented at: 19th Annual Meeting of the British Organic Geochemical Society, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K., 1-2 July 2008.

Download: Poster as an A4 pdf file.

Brief Summary

We have undertaken a decadal study (1998-2008) of the tar balls found on beaches around the South-West peninsula of the UK. Beaches on the north and south coasts of Cornwall and Devon have been surveyed a number of times, often during both the summer (July-September) and the winter (December-February). Although the amount of tar may be classed as "negligible" (<1.0 gm-1) it can originate from sources that are geographically remote from the UK. This is demonstrated by tar balls showing a biological marker signature similar to that of oil from the Prestige, which sank off Spain (4215'N, 1208'W) in November 2002.

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