Tar balls have been washing up along Santa Monica Bay beaches, according to reports, but there's no oil spill to blame, as is the case in the Gulf of Mexico region.

The small black dollops of petroleum have been spotted in Venice, according to Fox 11 News, and Santa Monica, according to KNX 1070 Newsradio.

A representative of environmental group Heal the Bay told KNX that the tar balls are naturally occurring — the L.A. basin sits atop mostly tapped-out oil reserves — and that they do wash ashore from time to time.

LA Weekly