- Advertisement -

California officials say tar balls have been seen on local beaches after an oil spill in Orange County last weekend.

The Golden State’s Department of Fish and Wildlife describes tar balls as small, dark, and often sticky residues of oil spills or natural oil seepage into bodies of water.

advertisement

California oil pipeline leak: The mystery continues to swirl

the agency explained As winds and waves break an oil slick into smaller pieces, various physical, chemical and biological processes alter the appearance of the oil by a process called “weathering”.

- Advertisement -

Tar balls are formed when patches of oil break into smaller pieces.

While tar balls range in size, they are typically less than 10 centimeters in diameter – alternatively, tar patties are larger – and the balls can travel hundreds of miles from the original oil release point.

The department said the tar balls are “like a toasted marshmallow”—often hard and crusty on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. Fresh tar balls appear more like drops of molasses.

Both the temperature of the tar ball and the amount of water or shore particles and sediment can affect the viscosity of the tar ball.

The number of tar balls washed up on the coast depends on wind patterns, ocean currents, ocean traffic, how often the beach was cleared and whether the source was a recent oil spill or spill.

While tar balls can be picked up by hand on shore, the oil contains hazardous chemicals and members of the public are advised to avoid contact with tar balls.

Cargo ship behaves strangely near California pipeline: report

If contact with skin occurs, individuals are instructed to wash the area with soap and water or baby oil and to avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene or diesel fuel on the skin.

Wildlife can also pick up tar balls, which can result in loss of waterproofing, life-threatening exposure to cold, or ingestion of hazardous materials.

“If you see tar balls, oil slicks or wildlife affected by the #oilspill, please don’t touch them,” the city of Carlsbad tweeted on Thursday. “Tell the experts at 877-823-6926.”

Tar balls have also been seen in San Diego, Oceanside, Del Mar and Encinitas as crude moves south, According to Granthshala 5, However the link is not 100% confirmed yet.

Tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil were spilled due to a leak in the underwater Amplify Energy Pipeline, shutting down the ocean and shoreline of Huntington Beach and other communities.

while the reason for the leak remains under scrutiny, Video of the broken pipeline released by the US Coast Guard shows a thin, 13-inch-long crack, and federal transportation investigators said preliminary reports suggest the failure “may have been caused by an anchor that hit the pipeline.” bowed down, causing a partial tear.”

This isn’t the first time tar balls have dotted the beaches of Southern California.

in 1999 An undersea pipeline that leaked at least 3,800 gallons of oil caused tar balls to wash up on Orange County beaches and tar bales Washed up on Newport and Huntington beaches From natural offshore rigs in 2016.