Petroleum hydrocarbons were extracted and analyzed from shoreline sediment collected from the northern Gulf of Mexico (nGOM) coastline that could potentially be impacted by Macondo-1 (M-1) well oil. Sediment was collected before M-1 well oil made significant local landfall and analyzed for baseline conditions by a suite of diagnostic petroleum biomarkers. Oil residue in trace quantities was detected in 45 of 69 samples. With the aid of multivariate statistical analysis, three different oil groups, based on biomarker similarity, were identified that were distributed geographically along the nGOM from Texas to Florida. None of the sediment hydrocarbon extracts correlated with the M-1 well oil extract, however, the similarity of tarballs collected at one site (FL-18) with the M-1 well oil suggests that some oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill may have been transported to this site in the Florida Keys, perhaps by a loop current, before that site was sampled.
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USGS Numbered Series
Petroleum hydrocarbons in sediment from the northern Gulf of Mexico shoreline, Texas to Florida