The Physics of Oil Spills

by Christopher Paul on June 14, 2010

MSNBC posted a fantastic interactive piece on what happens to spilled oil as it weathers in water. Weathering is the natural process where, according to Wikipedia, “is the breaking down of Earth’s rocks, soils, and minerals through direct contact with the planet’s atmosphere.” There are several weathering phases oil goes through and the image below gives you the high-level overview.


But the link has more detail around it and it gives me hope that in, say, 500+ years, the Gulf of Mexico might finally be able to move on from this catastrophe… that is if we don’t fuck it up some more in the meantime.

Oil on the Water, The Physics of Oil Spills – MSNBC

h/t: FlowingData

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