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Rock-ing the Montebello 

Santa Maria

For 50 years I have hunted rocks along our coast. In recent years I started noticing small globules of oil, specifically around Moonstone Beach. Because of their tacky nature, they accrete a gravel exterior that often hides their true nature. My first thought about their appearance was the Montebello.

I have worked in the Santa Maria oil fields, with their distinctive type of oil we called “elephant snot.” The oil at Moonstone is of the same consistency. I suggest someone screen the particulate orbs left by the tide in the first cove north of Moonstone Beach. This cove, that acts as an entrapment basin, can be accessed below the first parking spot near the end of the parking lot.

I suspect “elephant snot” has a defined chemical signature. The old-timers said that they could “taste” the difference in Santa Maria crude. Maybe science can validate the tongues of the old-timers and the fears of this old rock hound. Or not.

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