Planet Earth

published : 2023-11-30

Mysterious tar balls wash up on New Jersey beaches

Tar balls ranging from 1-2 inches found on the Jersey Shore

Aerial view of the Jersey Shore beaches where mysterious tar balls have been found. (Taken with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro)

Authorities in New Jersey are investigating after mysterious tar balls were discovered on the beaches of the Jersey Shore.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and Monmouth County officials are all involved in the investigation.

Tar balls of various sizes and shapes have been found along the Jersey Shore in recent weeks.

The USCG announced the presence of the tar balls after being notified about them near Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park on Tuesday morning.

The state Department of Environmental Protection, USCG, and Monmouth County officials have dispatched personnel to identify the source of the pollution.

Coast Guard officials conducting a fly-over to investigate the source of the tar balls. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

Cleanup efforts are currently underway for the 1-2 inch tar balls found on Jersey Shore beaches, particularly in and around Long Branch.

A fly-over conducted on Tuesday failed to reveal any oil on the water's surface, leaving investigators without a clear indication of the source.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tar balls are formed when crude oil on the ocean surface congeals due to wind and waves.

While oil spills can contribute to the formation of tar balls, natural oil seeps from the ocean floor can also be responsible.

Investigation teams are actively working to identify the source of the tar balls and commence the cleanup process along the popular beaches of the Jersey Shore.

Cleanup crew assessing the shoreline impacts and removing tar balls from the beach. (Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

To aid in the response actions, the Coast Guard has activated the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

An oil spill removal organization (OSRO) has initiated shoreline assessment and cleanup operations.

The area affected by the tar balls spans approximately six miles between Sea Bright and Seven Presidents Park in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Authorities advise beachgoers and mariners to avoid contact with the tar balls.

In case of any sightings, the National Response Center can be reached at 1-800-424-8802.