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Mar Pollut Bull. 2008 Jul;56(7):1310-22. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.04.010. Epub 2008 May 21.

Assessment of metal concentrations found within a North Sea drill cuttings pile.

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Scottish Association for Marine Science, Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, Dunbeg, Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA Scotland, UK.


North Sea drill cuttings piles are a distinct anthropogenic legacy resulting from the exploration and production of North Sea oil reserves. The need to understand metal cycling within the piles becomes increasingly important with the imminent decommissioning of many North Sea platforms and the subsequent fate of associated cuttings piles. This paper presents results of the simultaneous analysis of geochemical carrier substances (Mn and Fe oxyhydroxides), along with dissolved (<0.2 microm) and total (>0.2 microm) metal (Ba, Co, Cr, Cu, Mo, Pb, V) concentrations from a North Sea cuttings pile and surrounding sediment. These data are examined in conjunction with in situ measured porewater oxygen and sulfide. Results show a rapid removal of oxygen within the top few millimeters of the cuttings pile along with elevated concentrations of total hydrocarbons and solid phase metal concentrations compared to the surrounding environment.

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