LaBrea Tar Pits

The La Brea Tar Pits are a group of tar pits around which Hancock Park was formed in urban Los Angeles. Natural asphalt (also called asphaltum, bitumen, pitch or tar—brea in Spanish) has seeped up from the ground in this area for tens of thousands of years. The tar is often covered with dust, leaves, or water. Over many centuries, the bones of animals that were trapped in the tar were preserved. The George C. Page Museum is dedicated to researching the tar pits and displaying specimens from the animals that died there. The La Brea Tar Pits are a registered National Natural Landmark.Since la brea can be translated from Spanish as the tar, the modern name is an example of a tautological place name; "the La Brea Tar Pits" literally means "the the tar tar pits."Location and formationThe La Brea Tar Pits and Hancock Park are situated within what was once the Mexican land grant of Rancho La Brea, now part of urban Los Angeles in the Miracle Mile district, adjacent to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Craft and Folk Art Museum.The tar pits visible today are actually from human excavation. The lake pit was originally an asphalt mine. The other pits visible today were produced between 1913 and 1915, when over 100 pits were excavated in search of large mammal bones. Various combinations of asphaltum and waggler have since filled in these holes. Normally, the asphalt appears in vents, hardening as it oozes out, to form stubby mounds. These can be seen in several areas of the park.

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Los Angeles, CA
90036

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