A team of U.S. and European researchers wanted to find out what happens with the oil within the first 24 hours of an accidental oil spill. The immediate aftermath of an oil spill accident can be catastrophic. But we know little about how to respond because what happens in the first day of such an accident is still poorly understood. Understanding how to respond in the immediate wake of the oil spill accidents would help contain the damage in the future.
Most of the chemical changes in oil take place in 24 hours of a spill
So, researchers teamed up with emergency response experts to see exactly what happens after an oil spill occurs. They recreated a four cubic meter oil spill. The study was conducted in a heavily polluted shipping zone in the North Sea, about 124 miles off the coast of the Netherlands. Researchers studied this relative small spill in depth, observing how the oil molecules responded to changing environmental conditions.
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Findings of the study can be applied to larger spills. Oil is exposed to a completely new environment following a spill. After millions of years underneath, it is exposed to air, water a