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La Brea

La Brea is a town in southwestern Trinidad, located north of Point Fortin and south of Rousillac and San Fernando. La Brea (Spanish for "the tar" or "the pitch"). is best known as the site of the Pitch Lake, a natural asphalt lake. Pronunciation of "La Brea" differs from that used in the USA at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. Trinidadians call this place "La Bray."LocationLa Brea health district is situated in the mid-western peninsula. It is bounded by the Gulf of Paria on the west, Mondesir Road and part of National Mining on the north, by Fowl Play Bridge Aripero village on the south and by Union Village on the east. The villages included within these boundaries are: Union, Vessigny, Chinese Village, Aripero, Sobo, Rousillac village, Vance River and La Brea.Size and populationIt is approximately 52 km² in size and has a population of about 18,000.ClimateThere are two main seasons: the dry season from January to May and the rainy season from May to December.TopographyLa Brea is famous for its natural wonder of the world, "The Pitch Lake", which is actually the largest of three in existence. It is located on an area of depression in the landscape; with some pools, reeds and grayish asphalt everywhere. The asphalt is so soft in some areas that an individual can slowly sink if he/she stands on the surface too long. In some places one can put a stick through the asphalt and remove liquid tar. During the rainy season, the pools collect water, which becomes sulphurous due to the gases that are being released through the asphalt layers. These pools of water become breeding places for Aedes aegypti and other mosquitoes, thereby creating a health risk for workers of Lake Asphalt Company and tourists as well as the local villagers.
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