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Title: Fate and effects of crude oil spilled on subarctic permafrost terrain in interior Alaska : fifteen years later
Authors: Collins, Charles M.
Racine, Charles H.
Walsh, Marianne E.
Keywords: Black spruce forest
Interior Alaska
Crude oil
Oil spills
Terrestrial oil spills
Publisher: Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: CRREL report ; 93-13.
Description: CRREL Report
Abstract: The effects of two large experimental oil spills conducted in the winter and summer of 1976 in the permafrost-underlain black spruce forest of interior Alaska were assessed 15 years after the spills. Effects on the permafrost, as determined from measurements of active layer thaw depths and of the total amount of ground subsidence, were far more pronounced on the winter spill because it had a larger area with oil on the surface. The winter spill also had a more drastic effect on the vegetation. Where the black, asphalt-like oil is present on the surface, black spruce mortality is 100% and there is very little live vegetation cover, except for cottongrass tussocks. Changes in oil chemistry vary with depth; surface samples show signs of microbiological degradation, whereas some subsurface samples taken just above the permafrost show no evidence of degradation and still contain volatiles.
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Appears in Collections:CRREL Report

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