Tuesday, December 1, 2009

La Brea tar pits

I finally made it down to the Page museum today.  The neighborhood I live in is situated on an oil deposit, or it was, I guess they pumped most of the oil out in the 1920's and 1930's.  The land has always had some open tar pits, and they are fossil-rich from animals getting trapped in them, and the resulting chain reaction of the predators who would be trying to eat the stuck animals themselves getting trapped, and then the small mammals and birds and bugs feeding off the corpses got trapped too.  So there are skeletons a-plenty of post-ice-age critters in the ground around here.

The pond at the front of the museum still has oil and gases bubbling out into it, and it smells like asphalt (which is what the deposits are.)

I liked this skeleton of an ancient bison:

Here is pit 91 that they are working on, although it is on hold for 5 years while they clean off a large pile of skeletons they received from a building across the street that was either being constructed or renovated.  They pride themselves on it being the longest on-going urban dig site still in operation in the world (since 1969), but the fact is they only dig for a couple of months a year in the summer at the best of times, so one might as justly label it the slowest and most relaxed dig in the world.  You can see some bones poking up on the right side of the pit.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Nancy! This is sooo cool! I have been waiting for a long time for you to be my eyes and ears while visiting this place. I wanted to see it for a long time! Thanks for this overview. Will have to give me details over our next Skype session! Once again thanks. I hope your birthday day was a good one. Talk to you soon! :-)