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Are the Washington Square Tar Mounds, which last erupted in 1893, a threat to public safety? The Tar Mounds, the only known such natural formation on the east coast, have long fascinated visitors to the park. Oddly enough, the parks service, the city’s 311 information system and the National Society of Geological Phenomena (NSGP) make no mention of the Tar Mounds. And these potentially volatile formations have at one time even been used by skateboarders.

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In the relative geological calm of the last century plus, life has returned to reclaim some of the formerly barren landscape.

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The constant threat of eruption has prompted city officials to enclose the Tar Mounds, creating a safe boundary for viewing by throngs of thrill-seeking tourists.

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January 2019
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