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Mystery Pollution Keeps California Beaches Closed

Mysterious oil-based pollution has plagued a string of southern Los Angeles beaches, leaving them closed to the public since Wednesday last week. 

The pollution, although officially still unexplained, is thought to be linked to the oil spill that occurred a week before 100 miles further north.

Yahoo News reports:

On Thursday officials said clean-up workers had made “significant progress,” leading to speculation that they could re-open as early Friday. But authorities downplayed that.

“The beaches are closed until we make a determination that it’s safe,” said US Coast Guard spokeswoman Charlene Downey, referring to the stretch including the El Segundo, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo beaches.

The unidentified pollution comes after thousands of gallons of oil spilled into the ocean, some from a ruptured pipe near Santa Barbara, some 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest up the coast.

In last week’s oil spill up to 105,000 gallons leaked from a crude pipeline. Two beaches were closed, and remain so until June 4, officials said Thursday. Fishing rights were also suspended within a 30-kilometer by 10-kilometer area.

About 10 seals and sea lions covered in oil were rescued, while dead animals included lobsters and pelicans.

Santa Barbara was the scene of what was then the largest oil spill in US history, when in 1969 several million gallons of crude spewed into the ocean after an oil rig blowout.