- 20 January 2010 | Environment
The Valdez spill, which occurred in March 1989, is regarded as one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters.
The spill contaminated nearly 1,300 miles of shoreline and ruined the Alaskan fishing industry.
More than 20 years after the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Prince William Sound, Alaska, an estimated 21,000 gallons of the 11 million gallons spilled still exists on area beaches.
This is a direct result of the beach's composition. There are two existing levels of gravel.
The top layer which is highly permeable and the bottom layer which has very low permeability due to being compacted by tidal movement.
Because oxygen does not flow to the bottom layer, the oil remains trapped, and is dispersing at a rate of only 4% per year.