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Baby oil, Seal Beach-style, 1966

Baby oil, Seal Beach-style, 1966

Aug. 9, 1966: Paul Biaz, 10 months, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ben J. Biaz of El Monte, is caked with oil after crawling on sand near the Seal Beach Pier. An unknown oil slick extended from Long Beach to Huntington Beach.

In the Aug. 10, 1966, Los Angeles Times, staff writer Philip Fradkin reported:

A massive oil slick spread across 20 square miles of coastal waters Tuesday while its exact source remained a mystery.

The slick extended 10 mi. from Pier J in Long Beach Harbor to just north of the Huntington Beach Pier, and extended 2 miles out to sea from the beach cities. …

Since Sunday, the oil has damaged pleasure boats and wreaked havoc on beaches, swimmers, surfers and marine life in the area.

W. H. Putman, patrol commander for the Fish and Game Commission, said Tuesday that the slick consists of “crude oil, very possibly from our local fields.” …

Signal, Union, Humble and Standard oil companies operate four off-shore oil wells in the Seal Beach and Huntington Beach areas. Texaco, Mobil, Humble, Shell and Union Oil companies operate wells on Terminal Island and Pier J.

Henry Wright of the Western Oil and and Gas Assn., representing the oil companies, estimated that about 750,000 gallons of oil has seeped into the water. …

These two photos by staff photographer Frank Q. Brown accompanied Fradkin’s article.

A followup article in the Aug. 11, 1966 Los Angeles Times reported the oil slick had begun to dissipate, “as no new concentrations of the crude oil were discovered.” The source had not been found, but the same article reported, “speculation among officials centered on the possibility of natural seepage from the ocean floor, perhaps due to seismic activity…”

Aug. 9, 1966: Rocks and a log boom across the entrance to Alamitos Bay are heavily encrusted with oil left by slick extending from Long Beach to Huntington Beach. Credit: Frank Q. Brown/Los Angeles Times.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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