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March 11, 1861: Santa Barbara

March 11, 2011

natural tar seep

Natural tar seep; by randomtruth, on Flickr

Camp 19

cream cups - platystemon californicus

Platystemon californicus; by randomtruth, on Flickr

[Today], with two citizens of the place, a lawyer and a surveyor, who were going to survey a ranch, I rode about six miles west along the coast1. We rode over grassy hills, with some timber, where many cattle and sheep were grazing. We struck the coast about six miles from here, where asphaltum, a kind of coal-tar, comes out of the rocks and hardens in the sun. It is used for making roofs, by mixing with sand, boiling, and spreading on hot. It occurs in immense quantities and will eventually be the source of some considerable wealth. We found some fossils, stayed there several hours, and then rode back along the beach, it being low tide. It was an interesting ride to us. The strata which come out to the sea have been twisted and torn by volcanic forces, and then worn into fantastic shapes by the waves.

Specimens collected: Lepidium latipes; Platystemon californicus.

1Vicinity of present-day Isla Vista.

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