Source identification of hydrocarbon contaminants and their transportation over the Zonguldak shelf, Turkish Black Sea

Ünlü S., ALPAR Ş. B.

General Assambly of the European Geosciences Union 2009,, Austria, 1 - 04 April 2009, vol.11, pp.0-6718

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 11
  • Country: Austria
  • Page Numbers: pp.0-6718
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Under great anthropogenic pressure due to the substantial freshwater input from the surrounding industrial and
agricultural areas, especially central and middle-Eastern Europe, the Black Sea basin is ranked among the most
ecologically threatened water bodies of the world. Oil levels are unacceptable in many coastal areas perilously
close to polluted harbors and many river mouths; the places presenting the highest levels of bio-diversity and
having a high socio-economic importance due to human use of coastal resources. There are about sixty sources
of pollution which resulted in “hot spots” having disastrous impacts on sensitive marine and coastal areas and
needing immediate priorities for action. Beyond such land-based sources, trans-boundary pollution sources from
Black Sea riparian countries, heavy maritime traffic, particularly involving petroleum transports and fishing
boats, and the improper disposal of ballast and bilge waters and solid waste are also important marine sources of
Found in fossil fuels such as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons are generated by incomplete combustion of
organic matter. In order to estimate their distribution in sediment and their sources, they were monitored from
the bottom samples offshore the Zonguldak industry region, one of the most polluted spots in the Turkish Black
Sea. There the budget of pollutants via rivers is not precisely known due to an evident lack of data on chemical
and granulometric composition of the river runoff and their fluxes. Therefore the marine sediments, essential
components of marine ecosystems, are very important in our estimating the degree of the damage given to the
ecosystem by such inputs. Realization of the sources and transport of these contaminants will be a critical tool for
future management of the Zonguldak industry region and its watershed.
The sea bottom in study area is composed of mainly sand and silt mixtures with small amount of clay. Geochemical
analyses have shown that oil contamination was dominated in near-shore sediments. Their spatial distributions
over the shelf area make an estimation of possible pollution sources and their transportation routes possible. Sea
port activities, industrial inputs and partly maritime petroleum transport are the main sources of pollutants. They
are under the control of the longshore currents supplied with river alluvium and coastal abrasion material.