The tendency for selected organic compounds to sorb to sediments has been investigated extensively. These studies, however, have not permitted the ‘observation’ or measurement of advection/diffusion processes and the breakdown of organics within sediments.

MRI is a multidimensional technique allowing the position of nuclei (most commonly protons) to be charted within a volume. We introduce MRI as a means of monitoring movement of oil within a series of estuarine sediments, thus offering a method of assessing the harming potential of oils in nearshore environments.

Results presented in terms of the % change of oil distribution within a sediment sample, show the great potential of MRI in studying protonated contaminants in sediments.

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