This is Pit 91 at the La Brea Tar Pits. Visiting the pits is one of many geeky things I did on my recent vacation. The full list of science-related things I did on my trip will follow later.
I think I first heard about the tar pits through the movie My Girl 2, which goes to show that even sappy mainstream movies can teach you something about science. Wikipedia has a list of other fictional references to the pits.
In this area, crude oil has been coming up to the surface for the past 40,000 years, forming asphalt deposits. During this period, animals have been getting trapped in the asphalt, and because they were so rapidly buried, their fossils have been well-preserved. Paleontologists are still excavating this area, and pit 91 (pictured here) has been the longest ongoing urban paleontological excavation site since 1969. Granted, I don’t think there are that many urban paleontological digs. The tar pits are in a small park in a residential area in L.A., and share the park with an art museum. It’s a really interesting place to visit!
Here are the rest of my Tar Pits photos, with some more descriptions.
More geeky things I did on my trip will follow in future posts, and include the Hoover Dam in Nevada, The Museum of Jurassic Technologies in LA, the Exploratorium and the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco, and BioBarCamp in Palo Alto (although the latter will probably end up on my other blog)