USF Geologists Find Beaches Teeming With Tiny Tar Balls

As researchers from USF’s Coastal Research Laboratory examined miles of beaches of north Florida and Alabama last month, they discovered beaches hit by oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill and then “cleaned” by BP crews were anything but clean.

The sand, on the surface, looked better after crews had passed and was somewhat whiter, the scientists noted. But when University of South Florida beach geologist Ping Wang and researchers from his lab looked closer into the once pristine white quartz sands, they found that after beach-cleaning machines had combed the area, the beach was covered with thousands of tiny tar balls.

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