California can’t point to pyramids or ancient palaces, but we do indeed have an amazingly rich prehistory.
Geologists have aged the Sierra Nevada mountain range to be close to 50-million years old.
Laurel Mountain is just one beautiful example of metamorphic rock, part of the Sherwin range in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Protected by the John Muir Wilderness, this peak reaches a height of 11,818 feet.
I’m absolutely in love with this part of the state. The towering mountain ranges are breathtaking.
I really prefer thinking about the natural wonders spectacularly present above ground. But with the current climate of oil dependency it’s also important to think about what goes on below the surface.
I’ve enjoyed sharing bits of information about the La Brea Tar Pits in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. But did you know there is another similar spot of bubbling oil?
McKittrick Tar Pits, sometimes called McKittrick Oil Seeps and McKittrick Brea Pits, are a series of natural asphalt lakes in Kern County.
There are five natural asphalt lake areas in the world; two in Venezuela, and the other three in California, the third up the coast from Los Angles in nearby Carpenteria.
The McKittrick Tar Pits in the southern San Joaquin Valley were probably created during the Pleistocene epoch and are related to deep faults in the earth’s crust.
Like the La Brea Tar Pits, the McKittrick site also trapped and preserved hundreds of prehistoric animals. By 1968 more than 43 different mammals and 58 different birds were identified.
The McKittrick Tar Pits are part of the 1,750 square mile Monterey Shale Formation which contains about two-thirds of the United States’ total estimated shale oil reserves. That translates to about 15.4 billion-BILLION–barrels.
There are cities, like Taft, California, poised and salivating, hoping for mammoth oil production ( no pun intended) and the hope of economic renewal that would shift the town from marginal existence to abundant employment opportunities with increased security for years to come.
But there are reasonable opposing concerns.
Environmental scientists are proposing that any serious drilling be approached slowly and with great care. There is controversy about the practice of fracking–hydraulic fracturing for oil– which may pose risks in the most seismically active state in the lower 48–Alaska has us beat, but with California’s population, our risks are magnified
I keep reading about these dual interests and concerns, wondering what course of action, or inaction, will be taken.
I use the google alerts feature to monitor the Web for interesting and relevant news articles about California oil activity.
Today’s email-alert featured an article published in The Bakersfield Californian roundly proposing that a “California Oil Boom” is what’s needed to lift us out of economic sluggishness. The cry from that part of the state seems to be an eagerness to develop these oil reserves and harness a potential 2.8 million new jobs.
Is there a responsible way to move forward while still addressing all safety and environmental concerns?
And whether we do or don’t, is it impossible to expect Californians to quench some of their thirst for energy consumption?
I do worry about conserving the beauty in this state.
We have a lot of problems to solve and I’m very concerned about the economy, but I still hope we move cautiously.
As much as I’ve been reading and doing my best to piece together a lot of information, I wouldn’t want to take a multiple choice test on this topic right now. So let’s just say that I welcome other thoughts on the subject!
If you didn’t read the first two posts about the La Brea Tar Pits, you may be interested in reading them now.
- More from the La Brea Tar Pits…a treasure-trove of old bones (breathelighter.wordpress.com)
- The photos aren’t very pretty…but what do you expect from bubbling asphalt? (breathelighter.wordpress.com)