Investigating the Impact of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Trace Metal Concentrations in Bottom Sediments Retrieved from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of Alabama and Western Florida, Gulf of Mexico

David Steffy, Alfred Nichols, Joe Morgan


The changes in the metal concentrations in sediments from the eastern Gulf of Mexico OCS can be explained by the presence of a new source for these metals. These metals were released from the damaged Macondo Well which resulted in the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill during the spring of 2010. One-hundred and twenty sediment samples were collected during the fall months for the years 2008-2012 from the eastern OCS. The Tukey range test was used to compare measurement six metal concentrations between the relict sand deposits of the northern Gulf of Mexico OCS to the relict carbonate sediments off of western Florida OCS. Tests indicated that nickel (Ni), and lead (Pb) were significantly higher (p<0.05) in the seasonal average concentrations in the relict sand deposits after the spill. These higher concentrations are also reflected in the V to Ni ratio being at its lowest value in the relict sand (0.82) in the north, which is closer to the damaged well.


Deepwater Horizon; Vanadium; Nickel

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