Kern County and surrounding areas are fortunate to have a wealth of petroleum resources, namely oil and natural gas.  The petroleum industry is a major employer in the region.  Geologists, geo-technicians and geo-technical engineers are in high demand to determine where oil and gas may be trapped underground and how it can best be extracted for us to use to run our cars and heat our homes.  Oil is also a critical ingredients in a very wide range of products that are part of our every day lives, some of which may surprise you.

Classroom activities and resources in this module address where oil comes from, how it is held in the ground, how we extract it from the ground, what we use it for, a history of the oil industry in Kern County, and the economics of oil exploration and production.  Basic science topics include porosity, permeability and viscosity.

This module was created with the help of The Kern County Museum (  To learn more about oil and gas and the oil industry in southern California, we strongly encourage you to visit their excellent Black Gold exhibit.