Civil engineering faculty members at Auburn University analyzed the tar balls littering Alabama beaches after Hurricane Lee. Preliminary results confirm that the chemical signature of the tar balls, which have washed up from tar mat fragments offshore, is the same as that of the oil from teh BP Deepwater Horizon disaster that impacted the Gulf Coast in 2010.
According to this study, the oil which is submerged offshore has not experienced substantial chemical change over the course of the past year. Scientists expect this oil to pose some level of long-term risk to near-shore ecosystems.
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