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Good day at black rock

Good day at black rock

May 28, 2010

Blair Paul, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, gently scrapes biological specimens from a chunk of asphalt that had been at the bottom of the Santa Barbara Channel. In September 2009, Paul’s adviser, Dave Valentine, and WHOI marine geochemist Chris Reddy used the submersible Alvin to gather samples from a volcano-like dome of asphalt, remnant from an undersea eruption that occurred about 35,000 years ago. The dome is now home to a wide range of organisms including brittle stars, worms, and microbes. Reddy and Valentine study natural oil seeps and manmade oil spills in marine environments.

(Photo by Karin Lemkau, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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