Small balls of tar washed up on an Oceanside beach on Monday morning, making quite a mess for some visitors.
The tar balls on Buccaneer Beach, in the southern part of the North County beach town, ranged in size from some the size of a nickel to others as large as a baseball, according to U.S. Coast Guard officials.
Pollution investigators were sent to collect samples to send to a lab for analysis, according to Petty Officer Allyson Conroy. Investigators are trying to determine whether the tar comes from a man-made source or is from naturally occurring seepage from the ocean floor, Conroy said. Officials said they were leaning toward man-made seepage.
The last time time balls of tar washed up on shore in San Diego waters was in April 2009 on Coronado, Conroy said. Those oil deposits were tested and found to be naturally occurring.
People should avoid touching the balls of tar with their bare feet or hands, warned Conroy.
The test results should return in about two weeks.