Marine debris as an indicator of oil spill vulnerability along selected beaches of northern Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

McNeil, Mark (2009) Marine debris as an indicator of oil spill vulnerability along selected beaches of northern Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study investigated the morphological, sedimentological, energy regime, and marine debris characteristics of 4 beaches at the head of Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. Differing morphological, sedimentological and energy regime conditions alter the sensitivity of each system to oil spill contamination. Differences in the type and amount of marine debris between each system alter the potential risk of exposure to oil spill contamination. Based on differences in sensitivity and exposure, a vulnerability assessment was created for each system. This system was applied to an additional 5 beaches to demonstrate the applicability of the method and to highlight the actual vulnerability of each study beach relative to the spectrum of beaches actually present throughout Placentia Bay. -- Typical of the majority of beaches throughout Placentia Bay, the 4 study beaches are characterized by gravel dominated, reflective, moderate to high energy systems. Observations of sediment re-working and accretionary features along the beaches of Arnold's Cove and Come by Chance indicate that self-cleaning would not be an effective agent of oil removal in the case of a spill. The absence of sediment re-working and protected nature of Goose Cove beach suggest that oil would persist in this environment for an extended period of time. Evidence of high wave energies at Hollett's Cove indicates that this beach would self-clean effectively. -- Differing types and quantities of marine debris indicate that each beach, with the exception of Goose Cove, would likely be exposed to oil originating from a Placentia Bay spill. The heaviest quantities would be expected at Hollett's Cove and Arnold's Cove. Based on these factors, Arnold's Cove and Come by Chance are considered the most vulnerable beaches to oil contamination. Hollett's Cove and Goose Cove are considered the least vulnerable respectively. Applying the vulnerability assessment to additional 5 beaches revealed that the 4 study beaches rank moderately to highly vulnerable to oil spill contamination.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8862
Item ID: 8862
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 100-111).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: 2009
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Placentia Bay
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Environmental indicators--Newfoundland and Labrador--Placentia Bay, Northern; Environmental monitoring--Newfoundland and Labrador--Placentia Bay, Northern; Marine debris--Newfoundland and Labrador--Placentia Bay, Northern; Oil spills--Environmental aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador--Placentia Bay, Northern

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