Santa Paula Times

Students on a field trip travel aboard the Condor Express crew boat to view natural oil seeps in ocean waters around Coal Oil Point at UCSB. Photo Provided

California Oil Museum presents “The World’s 2nd Largest Marine Oil Seep

March 16, 2005
Santa Paula News
The California Oil Museum presents “The World’s 2nd Largest Marine Oil Seep: Natural Petroleum in the Santa Barbara Channel” at 2 PM on Sunday, March 20, 2005. Vice President Mike Edwards of Venoco in Carpinteria will present images and information about one of the largest natural oil seeps in the world , the Coal Oil Point area of the Santa Barbara Channel. This is the Museum’s second Discovery Series Presentation in 2005. The Museum is operated by the City of Santa Paula and is located at 1001 E. Main St in Santa Paula (805-933-0076; 10 AM - 4 PM, Wed - Sun; $4 Adult, $3 Seniors, $1 Children). Around Coal Oil Point at the University of California-Santa Barbara, fissures in the sea floor allow steady streams of petroleum and natural gas to escape from the earth. The amount bubbling up from the sea floor is estimated by scientists to be 6,000 gallons of oil per day plus 5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day! These natural seeps have been active for about 10,000 years, covering the ocean with an iridescent sheen and leaving tar balls along local beaches. Archeologists say that the native Chumash used this tar to waterproof baskets and bowls and to caulk the seams of their wood plank canoes. What is remarkable about these Santa Barbara Channel oil seeps is the abundance of marine life around them. Sea life is common in the area around the seeps, from bottom-dwelling shellfish and rockfish, to sea lions, dolphin and migrating whales. UCSB researchers are actively studying these seeps and the surrounding sea life. Two websites which explain this research are and For the last six years, Mike Edwards has taken thousands of area residents and educators out to see this natural phenomenon on behalf of his employer, Venoco. “Our platform Holly is in the middle of this huge seepage area, so we want people to see what this natural environment looks - and smells - like,” commented Mike, in preparation for this presentation.
He will share the information he has accumulated as well as some photos of this unusual and sometimes beautiful natural ocean phenomenon.This special presentation is included with the regular price of admission to the California Oil Museum.