An oil pipeline ruptured last Tuesday on the California coast which resulted in 100,000 gallons of oil spilled across a beach in Santa Barbara. Records show that there was another reported oil spill incident in Santa in 1969.
The oil spill incident in 1969 caused three million gallons of oil that spread across the Santa Barbara coast which was considered as the biggest oil spill in history in the USA. It was also believed to be a catalyst in the environmental movement we see today.
Results to the ecosystem from the latest oil spill incident are still not known. The affected area is considered a bio diversified environment. One of the unique features of the Santa Barbara coast is that the southern warm waters convene with the northern cold waters.
Foods from this area are being used by about 1,000 various animal species. Since the area is now contaminated following the recent oil spill incident, it is believed that ecosystem will be greatly affected, particularly bird species which will suffer the most.
Normal tidal movement will drive the oil into the shore. This will cover the birds with its sticky oil, hence, affecting their ability to fly and making them susceptible to prey.
Brown pelican species dive into the waters for their foods. With the oil spill these birds will have to dive straight into the waters with oil, thus, making it difficult to fly. They are expecting some of these birds will drown. But Ben Halpem, marine conservation researcher from UC-Santa Barbara, thinks that this will not cause a regional crisis. He said, ?It?s clearly a disaster, but it will be relatively contained. There will be a major impact on the local scale, but not the regional one.?
UC-Santa Barbara is considered as having one of the best marine science units in the whole country. Experts believe that the institution can perform an in-depth study of the impact of the recent oil spill to the biogeochemistry of its marine environment.
1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill
General Physics Laboratory