Skip to comments.Oil Seeping from Ground in Parent's Back Yard
Posted on 03/19/2005 4:50:11 PM PST by The Grim Freeper
Today, my mother asked me to come see something in their Los Gatos back yard. She took me out to the corner of their large lot (large for Los Gatos, anyway), and she pointed out to me some black, shiny substance seeping out of the ground in patches, and along a line about 10 feet in length. The last heavy rain had made this substance come to the surface.
I said "It looks like oil," and she said she thought so, too. I stuck my finger in it, and it was black, slick, and after I'd rubbed it around to almost a drying point, a little bit gunky. Like crude oil.
We know my parent's property sits on a water table, because the last big earthquake, they weren't anxious to sit in the house, so they sat on the ground, and the ground was all wet (even though it hadn't rained in months).
Also, the heavy rains have caused a number of cracks to appear and/or widen in the brick work and driveway and porches and patios of my parents older home. We definitely are expecting a "big one." We just don't know when, of course. We weathered the Loma Prieta earthquake with a minimum of property damage and some major "rattled" nerves.
But all that is to say, has anyone here ever heard of such a thing? Could crude oil be seeping to the ground surface due to the heavy rains? Could it be something else? If it's oil, what do we do? Do we report it?
Just wondering. Hoping we can bring gas prices down in the Bay Area, I guess...
Grim move away from there. California is the place you ought to be.
Swimmin' pools, movie stars...
Are you gonna be a Beverly Hillbilly now?
Not to burst your bubble... You might want to smell the ooze. I bet somebody's septic tank leech line is broken. Flush some dye marker tabs down the commode to see if it comes from the folk's house...
I should have expected this. (Snort.)
He wasnt "a shootin' at some food guys".
Seriously, I hope this doesn't cause problems for them....especially with enviros who will place some endangered animal on their property and try to stop them from doing anything with their own property.
If I were in that situation of course I'd like to have it checked out to find out what it is. Not too sure about your county, but if you were over here in Santa Cruz County, they'd probably use it as an excuse to bulldoze the house. With no compensation, of course.
MOODY- David B. Moody was born in Indiana in 1836. As a boy, he crossed the plains, in the first wagon train through the Tejon Pass. With his brothers he engaged in flour milling with headquarters in San Jose. He was also part owner in the Caldwell Oil Srtike in 1872, above Los Gatos, still known as Moody Gulch, or to CHP as Moody Curve. The oil was of "Pennsylvania" quality and was piped to the now extinct town of Alma, then shipped by rail to Alameda. The strike dwindled out in 1922. Moody was also President of San Jose Woolen Mills and a promoter of The Vendome Hotel, both long gone.
Sorry, I couldn't resist
The ground dried a bit and I just went back to look at it again. It seeped back into the ground, but it is still black in those patches where it had oozed up before--just not glistening.
...Up through the ground came a bubble and crude, Oil that is, Black Gold, Texas Tea....
The Le Brea tar pits come to mind.
Oil can definitely come up through the ground.
Didn't I see something like this in "What a Way to Go?"
Just don't let the envirowackos/Democrats know. They might declare the rest of your property a national park and forbid you from drilling.
In the 1880's, Col. Drake hit oil (awl, to you Aggies) in Pennsy at 79 feet.
You've exceeded the good Colonel's record by 79 feet.
And I'll bet you weren't even shootin' at some food, when up from the ground came a bubblin' crude (awl, that is).
Live near Coal Oil Point, do you?
I wouldn't plan a move to Beverly Hills in the near future.
Take everything I say below on a tentative level: I am only a law student, and not a very good one at that; please check with a licensed attorney for a better understanding of the issues.
If your parents own the property, then they own everything below ground and (to a certain extent) above ground. If there is in fact a deposit underground, it is theirs (unless the deed makes clear exceptions otherwise, which is doubtful).
I would suggest that you contact an energy law attorney in the area. He would probably have contacts in the energy field that could inspect your parents' land to determine if there is a deposit, and if so, how much. They could then go from there if they decide to form a company to market the oil (I'm sure there would be plenty of drilling companies who could be contracted to pump the oil--it's probably not a large deposit, so it might not even be worth it).
Again, bear in mind that I might be totally wrong. Please contact a real lawyer before taking any real action. Here's hoping you've struck it rich!
Well the first thing you know ol' Jed's a millionaire, Kinfolk said Jed move away from there-- Said Californy is the place you ought to be, So they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills, that is. Although, it is probably septic tank leaching from somewhere, sorry.
"Granny? That possum stew ready yet?"
They just need to draw their blinds at night....sounds like they only had an "excitable prowler" who downloaded on his way out.
Should we ping JimRob??....maybe we won't have to go through the Freepathon thingie next quarter.
Might want to make sure there is not a oil pipeline running under the property though. You could have a serious problem rather then a bonanza.
Certainly, happens all over the planet. OTOH, it could be somebody buried a barrel of oily waste some years back.
And the next thing you, ole Jed's a millionaire.
Check the property discription and see if the mineral rights come with the property. In Texas they do. But I don't know about CA.
Black gold, Texas tea...
Cows, in Berkeley? Oil, in Los Gatos?
Better start putting it in barrels now before the enviro-freaks have your parents evicted and property siezed.
If you don't own the mineral rights you could wind up with a drilling rig in the back yard.
Suggest you trade the SUV for a diesel....will run on raw oil with some modifications.
somebody buried a 1963 mercury there in the back yard..it has been leaking oil all these years, but it just now has let enough out for it to come to the surface.
Also, watch out for "BURNS SLANT DRILLING CO." trucks next door.
Oil is lighter than rock, sand, and water. It naturally seaps up and pollutes the surface, that's why you have the La Brea Tar Pits in downtown Los Angeles, for instance.
Natural oil seapage is the world's largest polluter of crude; if you don't drill and remove the oil, eventually it winds up on the surface, polluting on its own.
Man I live in the middle of the east Texas oil field and I also worked in real estate for years and you will never get mineral rights on land around here. They have been seperated for decades, I would imagine that CA is the same since there is so much oil around southern California.
Yer gonna need some 'possum recipes.
Most people have surface rights only. Subsurface rights can be gotten, maybe.
BTW, check your deed for any strange "mineral rights" clauses-- a house I bought years ago for The Front Porch ( one of my stores ) had a specific clause which meant that any oil, gas, or valuable minerals were not mine, but reverted to the former owner. Didn't mean a damn thing in practice, since no such deposits existed, but the seller was covering all his bases.
The only thing I would add to your excellent commentary is that this family may be able to sell oil and/or mineral rights to their property while retaining the right to reside there.
"You've exceeded the good Colonel's record by 79 feet."
Seeping oil is no recent phenominun. Back in the late 1800's oil threatened water holes in Oklahoma and Texas where cattlemen watered their herds.