Kate Mackenzie The mysterious trajectory of the Crystal Beach tar balls

Tar balls on Pensacola beach (Flickr: Geoff Livingston)

Tar balls found on the Crystal Beach area of Texas’ Bolivar Peninsula did indeed come from the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo well, according to the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, which co-ordinates response information.

But how did they get there?

The response centre raises an unpleasant possibility:

The testing found that the oil was lightly weathered, raising doubts that the oil traversed the Gulf from the spill source. Boats carry oil collected during the response to Texas for processing raising the possibility the oil could have been transported on a vessel.

Eek. The Unified Command said that “approximately 35 gallons of sand/seaweed/tar balls was recovered in Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula and on East Beach in Galveston on Sunday and Monday”. The contractor hired by the Coast Guard to clean the site estimated that seven gallons of that was tar balls.