Floating on a Pool of Oil
July 27, 2016 • Los Angeles
Doing research for an upcoming Mason Braithwaite adventure, I did some reading about the oilfields of the Los Angeles basin. Dair Massey sets out an engaging overview in “The Fiery Underground Oil Pit Eating L.A.,” outlining some of the incidents over the years where oil and gas have surfaced in dramatic ways. A methane vent burned for days in the middle of Fairfax Avenue in the 1980s, for example, and a Ross store blew up when methane filled the building.
I’ve often seen crude seeping up through cracks in the sidewalk, into underground parking garages, onto lawns. Like the earthquakes that rattle the state, it’s a reminder of the power of nature and, as Joan Didion put it in Slouching Toward Bethlehem, “how close to the edge we are.”