I recently visited the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, CA. I learned about the tar pits in school at some point and have been fascinated by them ever since. However, it turns out that the Tar Pits is a horrible misnomer. The black stuff is asphalt, not tar and the only pits were man-made. I thought asphalt was that horribly stinky, certainly carcinogenic stuff they paved roads with. Turns out it is a naturally occurring substance that bubbles up out of the ground. Tar is the man-made stuff. The tour guide freely admitted this as we stood right next to the life-sized diorama of mammoths struggling in a tar pit.
Why do we perpetuate these myths? I refuse! Henceforth and forevermore, I will tell people of my trip to the La Brea Asphalt Geysers. (We’ll ignore the fact that brea means tar, you have to pick your battles.) What myths have you uncovered?
I’d definitely recommend a trip to the Page Museum to learn more about the asphalt geysers. I learned tons of interesting things, like the fact that camels were native to the area! And if you have an affinity for being hot and dirty all summer long, you can volunteer to help excavate Pit 91. Who knows what you might find?