Pacific

Undersea asphalt 'volcanoes' studied off Santa Barbara

underwater-asphalt-volcano-diagram_19516_600x450.jpgAnyone who's ever gone to the beach in the Santa Barbara area knows that oil and tar can be part of the experience. Scientists also recently found a field of "asphalt volcanoes" on the sea floor ten miles offshore, apparently formed when crude oil erupted more than 35,000 years ago. The big domes of essentially pavement are six stories high and provide a good environment for marine life, says a story at National Geographic's website.

Graphic: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


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