Sir Walter Raleigh first discovered the Pitch Lake while cruising through La Brea in southwest Trinidad. The Pitch Lake is one of the several natural asphalt lakes in the world. Since its discovery in 1595, several investigations and research have been conducted to determine the chemical composition and use of this substance found in the lake
The lake has awed explorers, scientists and common man alike. The Pitch Lake is 40 ha and 75 meters deep. The lake houses asphalt mines, as asphalt thus produced in large quantities is used in road construction supplies
Various theories and postulations have been suggested to explain the formation of the Pitch Lake with its rich asphalt resource. According to one such theory, the lake is produced as a result of two faults, related to the subduction of the Caribbean plate of the Barbados arc.
Due to immense pressure a deep deposit comes to the upper crust; lighter elements evaporate leaving being the natural asphalt. This may be degraded by bacteria to form petroleum. There are various legends associated with the lake. Local Chaima Indians believe that it is the wrath of their Gods.