Scientists Find Ancient Asphalt Domes Off California Coast

"They paved paradise and, it turns out, actually did put up a parking lot. A big one. Some 700 feet deep in the waters off California's jewel of a coastal resort, Santa Barbara, sits a group of football-field-sized asphalt domes unlike any other underwater features known to exist.

About 35,000 years ago, a series of apparent undersea volcanoes deposited massive flows of petroleum 10 miles offshore. The deposits hardened into domes that were discovered recently by scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and UC Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Their report-co-authored with researchers from UC Davis, the University of Sydney and the University of Rhode Island-appears online in the Journal Nature Geoscience. The work was funded by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy and the Seaver Institute."

AFP had the story April 27, 2010.

Source: AFP, 04/28/2010