Radium Isotope Release from Oil Degradation: Development of an Oil Clock

Project Overview

Implementing Organization
Coastal Carolina University

DWH Project Funding


Known Leveraged Funding


Funding Organization

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)

Funding Program

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Grant Program

Project Location: South Carolina

Funding Source: BP
Controlling Document: GOMRI Master Research Agreement
Year Awarded: 2017

Project Details

Project Category

Project Actions

Environmental Research

Targeted Resources

Hydrocarbon Seeps and Chemosynthetic Communities Human and/or Institutional Capacity

Project Description

This proposal is based on exciting new data demonstrating that as hydrocarbons degrade within a water parcel, radium isotopes are released into the surrounding water. The ultimate goal of this proposal is to use this characteristic to develop an ‘oil clock’ geochronometer of hydrocarbon residence time in the marine system based on this released radium isotopic signature. The objectives of this proposal include: (1) collect and geochemically characterize discharged hydrocarbons from natural seep vents at Green Canyon lease block 600 (GC-600) to assess the degree of hydrocarbon source homogeneity across a Gulf of Mexico lease block; (2) use these collected hydrocarbons to perform a series of time-course radium release experiments, in which natural and dispersant-influenced degradation processes under conditions simulating deep water and surface hydrocarbon plumes will be used to determine the radium isotopic release signatures; and (3) create and validate a conceptual model of hydrocarbon residence time in the marine environment based on these isotopic release signatures.

Project Contact

Project Partners


Affiliated Institutions


Project ID: 1025
Project Name: Radium Isotope Release from Oil Degradation: Development of an Oil Clock
SourceUID: 296
Latitude: 0
Longitude: 0
Country: United States of America
State or Province: South Carolina
County: Unknown
Project Category: Science
Project Action: Environmental Research
Additional Project Action(s):
Additional Project Action(s):
Targeted Resource(s): Hydrocarbon Seeps and Chemosynthetic Communities
Targeted Resource(s): Human and/or Institutional Capacity
Targeted Resource(s):
Anticipated Project Completion Year: 2019
Implementing Organization: Coastal Carolina University
Implementing Organization Type: Academic
Point of Contact – Name: Richard Peterson
Point of Contact – Phone: rpeters2@coastal.edu
Point of Contact – Email: None
Other Partners: None
Affiliated Institutions: None
Link: http://research.gulfresearchinitiative.org/research-awards/projects/?pid=296
Project Comments: None
Acres Acquired: 0
Close Year: 0
Close Month: 0
Close day: 0
Purchase Type: None
Landowner: None
Landowner Type: None
Purpose: None
Public Access: None
Easement Holder Name : None
Easement Holder Type: None
Secondary Easement Holder 1: None
Secondary Easement Holder 2: None
Duration: None
Term: 0
Land Restoration Acreage: 0
Aquatic Restoration Acreage: 0
Restoration Mileage: 0
Restoration Feet: 0
Additional Acreage: None
Total Dollar Amount (from all funders): 2769179
DWH Funder: Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)
DWH Funder Type: Private
DWH Funding Program: Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Grant Program
DWH Dollar Amount : 2769179
DWH Source: BP
Fund Origin: Voluntary Agreement
Controlling Documents: GOMRI Master Research Agreement
Award Year: 2017
Award Month: 9
Total Amount Leveraged: 0