Mystery tar balls found on Jersey Shore beaches

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Thursday, November 30, 2023
Mystery tar balls found on Jersey Shore beaches
Mystery tar balls found on Jersey Shore beaches

LONG BRANCH, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The Coast Guard and several other agencies in New Jersey are investigating after tar balls were discovered along the Jersey Shore on Long Branch and Monmouth beaches.

Officials in the area say they have no clue where they came from.

The Coast Guard received reports of tar balls ranging in size from approximately 1-2 inches and smaller near Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park on Tuesday morning.

Tar balls are created when crude oil floats on the ocean's surface. Waves and wind begin tearing the oil slick into smaller and smaller pieces and the water starts changing its physical characteristics.

According to NOAA, tar balls are usually the remnants of an oil spill, but can also be produced by "natural seeps." That's when oil or natural gas leaks through fractures and sediments on the ocean floor.

Officials in New Jersey dispatched a pollution response team to investigate.

A Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City conducted a flight of the area to look for any oil pollution in the water. No oil was observed in the water during the flight.

Beachgoers and mariners are advised to avoid contact with the tar balls.

Anyone who notices any tar balls or oil sheen in the area should contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

There are no reports of impacted wildlife at this time.