SoCal Beaches Shut Down After Large Tar Balls Wash Ashore

Globs of oil on beach

Just a week after Santa Barbara’s awful oil spill, more SoCal beaches have been shut down for cleanup. This time, crews are removing globs of what is being called a “petroleum-like substance.

The baseball to football-size tar balls were first spotted Wednesday morning after they washed ashore along nearly nine miles of coastline from El Segundo to Redondo Beach.

The county Department of Public Health has closed nearly all South Bay beaches as scientists collected samples of the unidentified substance.

As The LA Times reports. the tar balls could have come from just about anywhere:

According to NOAA, tar balls are remnants of oil spills that occur when crude floats on the ocean surface, changing its physical composition in processes known as “weathering.”

After an oil spill, waves and winds break up the slick into small patches, or tar balls, that scatter into the ocean.

Tar balls can travel hundreds of miles.

Cleanup continued throughout the day Thursday and the beaches may be reopened on Friday morning.