Independent from Long Beach, California on February 21, 1969 · Page 41
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Independent from Long Beach, California · Page 41

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Long Beach, California
Issue Date:
Friday, February 21, 1969
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Page 41
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BIG OIL MESS I.*. B ,,rt. OH.. rrt«uv. F, s . ... .«. NDE'ENDENT 1AM) PRESS-THLESRAM (»M)--C-13 It Could Happen Again By RALPH D1GHTON SANTA BARBARA (/Pi-That mess in the Sania Barbara Channel -- could it happen again? Yes. says a geologist who has been studying the region for years, long before a leaking oil well spread a quarter-million gallons of crude oil onto this resort area's ocean and beaches early in February. "It not only could happen, it is happening all the time and apparently has been happening for longer than men can remember," said Dr. Donald Weaver, associate professor of geology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He continuued: "The Santa Barbara area, hnth the dry land and the submerged land out past the islands rimming the channel, is shot through with faults -- cracks and fissures of various sizes in the earth's crust. * * * + "THERE A R E f o u r known spots in the channel where oil from underground pools seeps 10 the surface through these cracks in large quantities, creating slicks on the ocean which are at tini'js a mile long and 100 yards across. "One of the worst of them is just offshore from this campus at a place called Coal Oil Point. You can see bubbles rising periodically from this seep from a few yards out in the surf on out for two or three miles. "Another had on° is off San Miguel Island, the westernmost of the Santa Barbara chain, and there are others off Carpimeria and off Point Conception on either side of Santa Barbara. "No one has measured the flow from these seeps but it is significant. 1 would estimate that 99 percent of the nuisance petroleum on the beaches prior 10 this last oil well blowout came from natural seepage." * * ·* * W E A V E R S A I D t h e blowout, is the first to con- t r i b u t e a major a m o u n t of oil in the channel's n a t u - ral pollution since m i d - c h a n n e l 1 a n (1 s were opened to drilling by ihe federal government in l-'eb- ruary 196S. "But it is not the first blowout," he said. "There was another about two years ago in the same area, during the exploratory phase before production drilling s t a r t e d . Fortunme- Iv, it appeared to be mostly gas, and there was hub- h l i n « around the well for days." Weaver said he did not know which oil companies were involved and there was no public announcement, but that he did fly over the geyser and t h a t it appeared to he scores of feet high. He said f u r t h e r pollu- t i o n of t h e channel could come from any of three inajoi sources: leaking oil wells, n a t u r a l seepage or earthquakes. * a * * "THIS WHOLE region is tectonically active, that is. it is still in the mountain-building stage." he said. "It is much younger, geologically speaking, than our East Coast, which is relatively stable as far as earthquakes go. "This means there is extensive fracturing in the area from earth movements. Seismic soundings, small explosions which bounce shock waves off the various layers of subterranean rock, show there are nine major faidts, plus whole systems of minor faults, trending parallel to the shoreline in the channel. "Oil forced up by pressures from below tends to concentrate in such struc- ures, and it is common practice to drill in these areas, not only here but all over t h e world. Even w i t h the latest exploratory techniques, however, the odds against finding oil are 15 to I." Since zones where the earth's crust is warped and cracked are the most common types of oil traps, the risk of blowouts from pressures in the traps is high. * * * * "LEAKAGES LIKE the tine we've just experienced here have h a p p e n e d hundreds of times in the history of oil drilling." Weaver said. "Drillers try to force drilling mud -which also serves to lubricate the hit and to c a n y ground-out rock [o the surface -- down the hole under a pressure equal in that expectable in the oil pool. This should prevent blowouts. Things can go wrong, however, and that may be what happened this time, although the oil companies involved have not fully explained it." Weaver's studies of the geology of the region are pan of a project at UCSB to sock federal funds for a vast study of tbe resources of the Santa Barbara Channel, the findings of which will relate to coastal areas o v e r the world. It is aimed at "the coexistence of m u t u a l beauty, petroleum reserves and marine resources," according to wording in t h e drafted proposal. Dr. Paul (',. Mikolaj. assistant professor of chemical engineering and an expert on oil pollution, says one aim of the study will be "in examine n a t u r a l resources as they are affected by the increasing occurence and p o t e n t i a l threat of pollution by petroleum substances -- both n a t u r a l and man-made." FIND A NEW WAY OF LIFE! Check the "Business Opportunities" in today's Classified Ads! BUY NOW SAVE MORE! TAX SALE! New Philco Personal Portable TV Transistorized for greater reliability COMPACT! LIGHTWEIGHT! Only llVz Ibs. 8'/2"high, 12 5 / 8 "wide 914 "deep *pi for Mfh voW«t* r»ctift*r. 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I-eatures porcelain enamel meat pan anil ( w i n enspers, split shell over cri.spcrs anil a l u l l w i d t h shell that slides out to vou. DOOLEY'S SALE PRICE $ 228 Free delivery, 1-year service, 5-year guarantee on refrigeration unit. New HOTPOINT All Porcelain AUTOMATIC WASHER "Deep B a t h " washing auion, "Deep-Dip" triple rinse .unon, f a m o u s over-flow rinse. Ruined t r a n s mission to hamilc bi,u loads, easily, anci i;ive b e t t e r , t r o u b l e - t r e e service. Smooth-wall porielain-on-steel spin ti:b w i t h no p e r f o r a t i o n s to sna,m.lothes. FREE DELIVERY and NORMAL INSTALLATION 1-year parts and labor guarantee, 5- yeor parts guarantee on transmission. $ 138 USE DOOLEY'S LOW, EASY TERMS Take 12, 24 or 36 months to pay Mon. Fri. 9 to 9 Tues., Wed., Thurs., Sat. 9 to 6 SUNDAYS 10 to 5 Hardware Mart 5075 LONG-BEACH BLVD..- NORTH LONG BEACH

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