If you've spent any time on the beaches in Long Branch and Monmouth in the last few days, you may have noticed and wondered about what looks like little black balls washing up on the shore.

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Well, you aren't the only one taking notice -- the U.S. Coast Guard, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and Monmouth County officials are also paying attention.

CBS News Philadelphia
CBS News Philadelphia
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Officials are investigating the origin of these tar balls, with some speculating that they are from an oil leak, while others suggest they may naturally occur from oil seeps.

A flyover was conducted to check for any noticeable oil slicks on the surface, and none were detected. Investigators will continue to look into this.

Regardless, officials emphasize that if you encounter them, do not touch them.

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Gallery Credit: Matt Ryan

 

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