Ancient Tar Pit, Fort Sill

October 24, 2016 at 5:00 am (Nature, Oklahoma, Photography) (, )

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

I finally made it to the ancient tar pit at Fort Sill. It’s an oddity, smelling of asphalt and full of ooey gooey tar. Despite that, plants grow out of the tarry water, and frogs skitter and hop out of sight when frightened. Frogs? Why are they not covered in goo like seabirds in an ocean oil spill?

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

I will have to find someone who can answer that. I would have gotten closer to the edge of the shallow pond but I knew I would get tar on my shoes and then in my car, and that simply was not going to happen!

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

I am always fascinated with nature abstractions, and the oily slicks on the surface occupied about a half hour of my photographic wanderings.

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

I got the best results with a polarizing filter, and then did some contrast enhancement and increased vibrance in Photoshop. So what you’re seeing isn’t what the eye saw.

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

These swirls remind me of patterns in certain rocks seen closeup. Or curvy canyons viewed from eagle-height.

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

I hoped maybe I’d see a pair of frog eyes peeping at me once I got these enlarged, but no luck.

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Because you need specific ID to get onto Fort Sill, you should check out the post webpage telling you how to do so. Once you’re on post, you can visit the Field Artillery Museum and the Old Post Quadrangle with its visitor center and old military buildings. Plus you can visit Geronimo’s grave and several other Native American cemeteries, as well as the post cemetery.

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Lake Elmer Thomas Park on the west side is a lovely place even though many of the amenities are closed in the off-season. And there’s Martha Songbird nature park for bird and butterfly watching, and some pretty nice drives into the open prairie where training takes place.

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

As long as you stay on the paved roads, you’re safe. A permit is needed to travel more than 100 feet (or is it yards, I can’t remember) off the main road once you’re out of the cantonment area (the “city” where the buildings are.)

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tar Pits, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

As far as the tar pits, my co-worker wrote about them in the Fort Sill Tribune. Here’s what she discovered.  Fossils have been illegally removed from the site over the years, which is sad. I didn’t see any myself, but then, I stayed away from the tar.

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This is what the pit looks like. It’s quite small, and definitely smells like fresh asphalt. The Oklahoman newspaper’s newsok.com website had this to say about the tar pits: “The fossil-packed Adams Hill Tar Pit, is a 250 million-year-old archaeological treasure trove. (The famed LaBrea Tar Pits of Los Angeles are babes in contrast – a mere 35 million years old.) In addition to dinosaur, mammoth and other prehistoric fossils, several sites around Fort Sill have yielded large amounts of artifacts from Oklahoma’s first residents – the Paleo-Indians.”

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Enjoy!

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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2 Comments

  1. Joyce said,

    body{font-size:10pt;font-family:arial,sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;color:black;}p{margin:0px;}I really enjoy your blog!  Jane and Ron Payne suggested I follow you and their suggestion was a good one!  Thank you for your interesting work!  Joyce 

  2. Jet Eliot said,

    I find tar pits fascinating, and really enjoyed your post here, Cindy. I was thrilled when I got to visit the La Brea Tar Pits, and smiled here at reading they were babes. Great post.

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