John E. Estes, Robert E. Crippen, Jeffrey L. Star; Natural oil seep detection in the Santa Barbara Channel, California, with Shuttle Imaging Radar. Geology ; 13 (4): 282–284. doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/0091-7613(1985)13<282:NOSDIT>2.0.CO;2
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Natural submarine oil seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel, California, were detected by the first Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-A). Oil slicks on the ocean are seen in radar imagery as areas of decreased radar signal return that result from a damping of surface roughness. Orbital radar imagery shows promise as an effective and efficient means of mapping submarine oil seeps as sources of naturally occurring oil slicks.