“Jellybeans”? Liquid oil bleeding from tarballs — “Collecting in little pools on the sand”

Fresh tarballs wash up on Gulf Coast shores after Tropical Storm Lee, Press-Register by Ben Raines, September 10, 2011:

CAPTION: Tarballs [...] could be seen bleeding liquid oil on Thursday. The presence of oil in a liquid state inside some indicates the oil has not weathered a great deal

[... I]n the surf along the barrier islands of Alabama and Mississippi on Thursday [... t]he new tarballs ranged from the size of a quarter to blobs 8 inches across [...] 

Moist and gooey, like a chocolate chip cookie just pulled from the oven, some of the fresh tarballs had layers of liquid oil inside them. Oil bled from the tarballs sitting in the sun on the beach, collecting in little pools on the sand. [...]

Ed Overton, an oil chemist and professor emeritus at Louisiana State University:

  • Overton “described [the 'tarballs'] as ‘jellybeans’ — crusty on the outside with jelly in the center.”
  • “These new deposits are probably fresher oil.”
  • “These are probably more like globs of oil.”
  • “It sounds like there was a fairly thick lens of oil out there that had not mixed with sediment.”
  • “We’re going to be seeing this for years.”

18 comments to “Jellybeans”? Liquid oil bleeding from tarballs — “Collecting in little pools on the sand”

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