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Geophysical Monograph Series

 

Keywords

  • plumes
  • stratified flow
  • environment
  • fluid dynamics
  • multiphase
  • oil spill

Index Terms

  • 4568 Oceanography: Physical: Turbulence, diffusion, and mixing processes
  • 4534 Oceanography: Physical: Hydrodynamic modeling
  • 4528 Oceanography: Physical: Fronts and jets

Article

GEOPHYSICAL MONOGRAPH SERIES, VOL. 195, PP. 257-262, 2011

Subsurface Trapping of Oil Plumes in Stratification: Laboratory Investigations

D. Adalsteinsson, R. Camassa, S. Harenberg, Z. Lin, R. M. McLaughlin, K. Mertens, J. Reis, W. Schlieper, and B. White

Laboratory experiments demonstrating how the addition of surfactants creates the possibility of trapping buoyant immiscible fluids are presented. In particular, these experiments demonstrate that buoyant immiscible plumes like those which occurred during the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill can be trapped as they rise through an ambient, stratified fluid. The addition of surfactants is an important mechanism by which trapping can occur. In this paper, we describe experiments and theory on trapping/escape of plumes containing an oil/water/surfactant mixture released into nonlinear stratification. We also present results on the timescale for trapping and for destabilization and release of trapped subsurface plumes. This timescale is shown to be a function of the oil to surfactant ratio.

Citation: Adalsteinsson, D., R. Camassa, S. Harenberg, Z. Lin, R. M. McLaughlin, K. Mertens, J. Reis, W. Schlieper, and B. White (2011), Subsurface trapping of oil plumes in stratification: Laboratory investigations, in Monitoring and Modeling the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Record-Breaking Enterprise, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 195, edited by Y. Liu et al., pp. 257–262, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2011GM001115.

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