The amount and approximate molecular distribution of indigenous hydrocarbons in coastal sand provide a baseline above which petroleum pollution is measurable. Organic carbon, alkanes, total hydrocarbons, alkane/organic carbon and hydrocarbon/organic carbon ratios, and gas chromatographic analyses were used to characterize marine, lagoon, and pond facies of the barrier-island sand. Results from six localities provide no evidence for petroleum pollution. Such pollution would be indicated by complex molecular distributions resembling petroleum and by alkane/organic carbon ratios greater than 0.003 and hydrocarbon/organic carbon ratios greater than 0.01.

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