La Brea Tar Pits

In Los Angeles, we visited the famous tar pits, also known as pitch or asphalt lakes. Over the centuries, thousands and thousands of animals were trapped in the natural asphalt. Their bones were conserved.

Tar pits are composed of heavy oil fractions. Oil seepage leads to asphalt through evaporation or degradation of the oil’s lighter fractions. The result is bubbling oil and asphalt pools in urban Los Angeles at Hancock Park.

Fossils of large mammals up to insects, plants and microfossils have been found: bones of wolves, saber tooth tigers, mammoths, sloths have been puzzled together and are exhibited at the museum.