54.87.70.14 Can oil leaks come about naturally? | Q&A | Focus Magazine | Science and Technology

Can oil leaks come about naturally?

Monday 1st August 2011
Submitted by mstaple
ROBERT CRADDOCK, BY EMAIL

Yes. Weathering and tectonic upheavals can rupture underground oil reservoirs and allow oil to reach the surface. The La Brea tar pits near Los Angeles are one example and off the coast of Santa Barbara in California there’s an oil field that’s been leaking 20-25 tonnes of oil every day for the last several hundred thousand years.

GOT A QUESTION?

Scratching your head over a burning scientific conundrum? Submit your question and we'll get our esteemed panel of experts to answer it for you.

 

Is carbonated water as hydrating as still?
previous qanda Article
Why can emotional pain feel physical?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

Phlegm is the mucous secretion of the respiratory passages. The cilia cells that line these passages are continually driving the phlegm upward to the throat, where it triggers the swallow reflex...

‘Life’ is a macroscopic, anthropocentric concept that doesn’t scale down to the level of a virus very well. Most definitions put viruses at the boundary between living and non-living because,...

Beard hair is quite different to head hair; it is coarser, curlier and doesn't fall out as we get older. Comparatively little work has been done on the genetics of human hair colour, but it is...

In theory, nuclear-powered flight is feasible and, in some ways, even desirable. You could fly from London to Sydney without refuelling and all but eliminate greenhouse gas emissions while you...

Until around 100,000 years ago, Europe was dominated by the Neanderthals. But by 28,000 years ago, the last of them had vanished from their final hold-out in Gibraltar, having apparently lost out...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here