Source investigation of the tar balls deposited along the Gujarat coast, India, using chemical fingerprinting and transport modeling techniques
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Deposition of tar balls (TBs) along the south Gujarat coast, situated on the west coast of India (WCI), commonly occurs during the southwest monsoon season. Several offshore oil fields off the Mumbai-Gujarat coast, and refineries along the coast might be sources of oil spills/leakages and lead to the formation of TBs. To identify the sources, we collected 12 TB samples from the beaches of Gujarat (Tithal, Maroli, Umbergam, and Nargol) during 15-17 July 2012 as well as samples of crude oils, namely, Cairn, NIKO, MSC Chitra, and two at Bombay High (BH). These TBs were subject to the following multimarker approach for source identification: Diagnostic Ratios of n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pentacyclic triterpanes, compound specific isotope analysis, Principle Component Analysis and numerical simulations (hydrodynamic model coupled with particle trajectories). The chemical fingerprint results reveal that the source of the TBs is BH crude oils, and the model results confirm that the source location is BH north oil fields. This is the first study of its kind in India to use fingerprinting and transport modeling techniques for source identification of TBs.
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