The US state of California is home to many of the world’s natural asphalt lakes. Natural asphalt ponds are similar to ponds filled with a substance called bitumen instead of water. The material, which is buried underground in petroleum derivatives, moves along fault lines to the surface. Bitumen in the lake is also hardened by evaporation of lighter elements and gives rise to a dark, clumpy, hard material called natural asphalt.
Natural asphalt lakes, in addition to being extracted, are also considered a tourist attraction. That’s why we want to introduce you five examples of these amazing lakes around the world in this article.
It has the largest reserve of natural asphalt in the world. Lake Pitch is located in La Brea, Trinidad and Tobago. The deepest part of the lake reaches 250 feet; in total it is estimated to contain about 10 million tonnes of natural asphalt.
All you need to know about Natural Asphalt Lake
One of the important features of this lake is its microbial diversity. A variety of colonies of rare and ancient viruses can be found in this lake. For this reason, many new microbial, bacterial, and fungal species have been discovered in the lake.
Lake La Brea Tar Pits La Brea Tar Pits
The second natural asphalt lake that we present to you in this post is located in Los Angeles, California, USA. In fact, this natural asphalt reservoir rather than a concentrated lake is a group of separated pits located in the area. However, in some places they are interconnected and appear on the surface. The pits are located in Hancock Park and are the main feature of the park.
Another interesting point about this lake is the discovery of fossils of a variety of prehistoric animal species, which has given the area high archaeological value. In fact, animals are trapped in the natural asphalt, causing their bones to remain. For this reason, a museum has been set up near this place to display these works.
Bermudez Lake, by the name of Guanaco, is the third natural asphalt lake in this post. The lake is located in the Estado Sucre region of Venezuela. Because of its 445 hectares, it is the largest natural asphalt lake in the world. However, due to its low depth (4.9 to 6.6 ft) its entire reserves are lower than Lake Pitch.
The lake has been known for many years by indigenous peoples and has been manually extracted from it and used for insulation purposes.
Of course, since 1890 an American company has been doing the extraction; this process was stopped in 1934 and no specific mining activity is currently carried out on the lake.
McKittrick Tar Pits
Like the previous example, this lake is made up of a series of small lakes located in one area. Located in the Kern area of California, McChrystal Pit has been used by locals for many years for simple purposes, including moisture-proof coatings. But by the 1860s, the commercial extraction of natural asphalt from the lake began. Like Lake La Brea Tar Pits, it has valuable paleontological remnants of the Pleistocene.