Collection Data

Page Contents: Section | Significance | Background | Location & Dates | Taxonomic Contents | Documentation | Description of Collection | Collection Inventory | Collection Assets

Mineral Management Service / Pac Baroness Survey

Section Responsible for Processing



On September 21, 1987, the 564-foot freighter, Pac Baroness, collided in fog with another freighter, theAtlantic Wing, approximately 20km to the southwest of Point Conception, California. As a result of the collision, the Pac Baroness eventually sank in about 450 to 500m of water, at a reported location of approximately 34infinity21.13’N latitude and 120infinity38.14’W longitude. The Pac Baroness was carrying a cargo of 21,000 metric tons of finely powered and concentrated copper ore consisting of refined chalcopyrite, covellite and native copper, and containing approximately 30% each of copper, sulfur and iron. The vessel was also carrying approximately 7,500 barrels of intermediate-grade fuel oil and 280 barrels of marine diesel. Batelle Ocean Sciences, through a joint research arrangement with the University of California at Santa Barbara (USCB), conducted a limited environmental study in the vicinity of the wreck, to locate the vessel, determine the extent of initial contamination and examine the potential impact on benthic communities of the immediate surrounding area.


This project was funded by the Mineral Management Service, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Resulting Publication:
Hyland, J., J. Kennedy, J. Campbell and S. Williams. 1989. Environmental Effects of the Pac Baroness Oil and Copper Spill. Proceedings 1989 Oil Spill Conference (Prevention, Behavior, Control, Cleanup).

Collection Location and Dates

Detailed above.

Taxonomic Contents

Although all common invertebrate taxa were collected, our collections hold only the crustaceans. A total of 40-43 invertebrate species were collected from three control sites and 20-33 species were identified from the three wreck-sites. At the control site 559-736 individuals were collected compared to 137-381 individuals from the wreck-sites. Polychaetes and crustaceans dominated the samples. Molluscs represented the next most abundant taxon (8% of the fauna).


Cruise report available as pdf from this site.

Description of Collection

Collection in 70% ethanol, identified to the level of species and incorporated into the general Crustacea taxonomic collection holdings.

Collection Inventory

Approximately 29, 1 ounce jars.

Collection Assets

Date View or Retrieve File Information
01/10/2006 Retrieve [2004.7 kB] Cruise report for the initial environmental survey in the vicinity of the sunken freighter Pac Baroness, December 18, 1987

Curatorial Status (Click to view)