Asphalt Lake in Trinidad
The Pitch Lake is the largest natural deposit of asphalt in the world, located at La Brea in southwest Trinidad, within the Siparia Regional Corporation. The lake covers about 40 hectares and is reported to be 75 metres deep.
Although it wouldn’t seem like a bubbling lake of hot tar would be able to host life, we find out that it is teeming with microbial life.
In fact, each gram of sticky black goo can harbor up to 10 million microbes.
Pitch Lake is a tourist attraction that attracts about 20,000 visitors annually. It is also mined for asphalt by Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago.
Pitch Lake has fascinated explorers and scientists, as well as attracting tourists, since its discovery by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1595. Raleigh himself found immediate use for the asphalt to caulk his ship. Exported asphalt from Pitch Lake was also used to pave the streets of some regions of New York City. Since its re-discovery, there have been numerous research investigations into the use and chemical composition of this material. Above all, there have been countless theories, postulations, and conclusions as to the size, source, and origin of the asphalt.
The local Carib tribe believed that the pitch lake was created after the local tribe(who had just won a battle) feasted on hummingbirds, knowing that they were their dead ancestors. The winged god was furious and drowned the village creating the pitch lake. For the Caribs the pitch lake is a symbol of emptiness but today it’s a symbol of money.