USGS Logo Geological Survey Bulletin 581—B
Oil and Gas in the Western Part of the Olympic Peninsula, Washington


The samples of oil collected from the seeps north of Hoh River show that it is high grade and has a paraffin base. In reflected light it has a light to dark green color, whereas in transmitted light the color is dark cherry-red. The odor of the oil as it comes from the seep is very much like that of kerosene. Two samples were collected from the seeps north of Hoh River and analyzed by David T. Day in the Survey laboratory with the following results:

Analysis of crude petroleum from the Jefferson Oil Co.'s seep, in the SE. 1/4 sec. 12, T. 26 N., R. 14 W.

Physical characteristics.
ColorLight green.
OdorLike Pennsylvania oil.
Specific gravity0.8679.
Equivalent to31.5° Baumé.
Begins to boil at103° C.
100° to 125°1/2 per cent gasoline.
125° to 150°7 per cent gasoline.

7-1/2 per cent gasoline.
150° to 175°7 per cent kerosene.
175° to 200°9 per cent kerosene.
200° to 225°10 per cent kerosene.
225° to 250°12 per cent kerosene.
250° to 275°16 per cent kerosene.
275° to 300°9 per cent kerosene.

63 per cent kerosene.
  Average specific gravity of kerosene; 0.8545.

Mr. Day states that the oil Contains no asphaltum and that the residuum yields a large percentage of paraffin wax.

Analysis of crude petroleum from Lacy seep, in the NW. 1/4 sec. 11, T. 26 N., R. 13 W.

Physical characteristics.
ColorDark green.
OdorLike Pennsylvania oil.
Specific gravity0.9365.
Equivalent to195° Baumé.
Begins to boil at190° C.
Up to 250°4 per cent kerosene.
250° to 275°10 per cent kerosene.
275° to 300°14 per cent kerosene.

28 per cent kerosene.

Mr. Day in commenting on this sample says:

The specific gravity of the kerosene oil fraction is rather high on account of the initial boiling point of the oil. The quality of the distillate, however, is like that of Pennsylvania oil. The oil contains no asphaltum but considerable paraffin wax. The residuum from the kerosene distillate is well suited for the manufacture of lubricating oil and paraffin wax.

The above analyses show that the oil taken from the Jefferson Oil Co.'s seep on Hoh Head is much lighter than that taken from the Lacy seep 5 miles farther east. This difference in specific gravity is believed to be due partly to the character of the rocks through which the oil filters into the seeps. The oil enters the Jefferson Oil Co.'s seep through soft sandy clay, which has some of the characteristics of fuller's earth, whereas the rock through which the oil enters the Lacy seep is much coarser and consists principally of sand and gravel. The oil issuing through the less porous rock, like that at the Jefferson Oil Co.'s seep, probably more nearly represents the oil under thick cover than does the oil issuing through coarser material like that at the Lacy seep, where the lighter, more volatile fractions, such as gasoline, have escaped into the atmosphere, leaving the heavier portions behind to flow into the seep. Not only the absence of gasoline but also the greater specific gravity of the sample collected at the Lacy seep seems to support the statement made above in explanation of the difference in the specific gravities of the two samples.

The oil from this region is unlike the oil from the California fields, which has an asphalt base but resembles that from the Katalla district of Alaska, according to the statement of Martin,1 who, in discussing the oil of the Katalla district, says: "The petroleum is clearly a refining oil of the same general nature as the Pennsylvania petroleum. It resembles the latter in having a high proportion of the more volatile compounds and a paraffin base and in containing almost no sulphur."

1Martin, G. C., Geology and mineral resources of the Controller Bay region, Alaska: U. S. Geol. Survey Bull. 335, p. 124, 1908.


Gas from the Garfield gas mound was analyzed by George A. Burrell in the laboratory of the Bureau of Mines, with the following results:

Analysis of natural gas from the Garfield gas mound in the NW. 1/4 sec. 35, T. 22 N., R. 13 W.

As received.Air free.

Carbon dioxide2.672.67



The heating value of this gas at 0° C. and under 760 millimeters pressure is 1,305 British thermal units. Its specific gravity is 0.72 of that of air.

Mr. Day, who also examined this gas, states: "The gas has none of the odor characteristic of marshy emanations and gives evidence of being deep-seated gas, although there is no odor of oil or other indications of its being connected with oil."

As heretofore stated, the gas escaping from the Devils Mush Pot, near Spruce post office, and also that escaping in sec. 8, T. 23 N., R. 9 W., at the upper end of Queniult Lake, are similar, in regard to odor and character of flame, to the gas collected from the Garfield mound, the analysis of which is given above.

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Last Updated: 28-Mar-2006