Jim Letourneau's Blog

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Mother Nature Passes Wind

Oil and gas seeps occur naturally all over the world.

The largest and most studied concentration of seeps are collectively referred to as the Coal Oil Point seeps. There are actually two large seepage areas; one close to shore and another located about two miles offshore. According to modern studies released by the California State Lands Commission in 1978, there have been more than 1,200 natural seeps charted in the entire Santa Barbara Channel. Half of these occur within three miles of Coal Oil Point.

More on the Coal Oil Point seeps...

Since the big storms in California last month, the size of the seepages has increased dramatically as shown by these photos. Natural water flooding caused by recent torrential rainstorms or scouring of the seafloor due to storm wave erosion may be responsible for the increased seepage rates.

In what appears to be a strange coincidence, oil from a different source soaked more than 1,400 birds during a weeklong event just as the offshore seeps were flowing more freely.

More on the unfolding environmental mystery...

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