Up to 100,000 litres of oil leaked into Moreton Bay after the Pacific Adventurer cargo ship was holed on Wednesday morning, and the slicks are now blanketing 60 kilometres of Queensland’s coastline. Read more here.
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This news story reminds me of a presentation by a hydrologist many years ago. He mentioned in passing that back in the 1930s, there was an experiment to see if a planned ‘oil’ spill could slow down the rate of evaporation in reservoirs. The ‘oil’ was hexadecanol. In the absence of wind, waves, and hydrogen bonding with the silica in the soil on the shore, the ‘oil’ may have been able to form a semistable monolayer over a large fraction of the reservoir’s surface, thereby decreasing the evaporation.
If so, it would have been interesting to see how the monolayer affected the rates of CO2 and O2 exchange between the reservoir and the air above. For all I know, it could have killed most of the fish!
Anyway, that was a worthy experiment. Perhaps a different ‘oil’ would have given better results.