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Layers of Weathered Oil

Follow the Fingerprint: There are many sources of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, including natural deep-sea oil seeps, small spills from ships, and oil from roads that washes into the sea—not to mention big oil spills like Deepwater Horizon. How do GoMRI res
Markus Huettel, Florida State University

There are many sources of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, including natural deep-sea oil seeps, small spills from ships, and oil from roads that washes into the sea—not to mention big oil spills like Deepwater Horizon. How do GoMRI researchers know the origin of any oil they find in the water or buried in sediment, like in this photo? They use oil fingerprinting: just like every person has unique fingerprints, different sources of oil have their own chemical, geological, and biological markers.