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Book IV

January 01, 1955

I shall now take up a second unctuous juice which is naturally related to sulphur and is called ἄσφαλτοσ by the Greeks. The Latins have named it bitumen. Included under this name are not only the substances the older writers placed here but also naphtha (naphtha), camphor (camphora), maltha (maltha), pittasphalt (pissasphaltus), jet (gagates), Samothracian gem, thracius stone, obsidianus stone and many others classified by Pliny as gems, and natural carbons as well as the earth called ἀμπελῖτις by the Greeks. Amber (succinum) is also included here. This juice is known by so many different names because of variations and qualities by which it is distinguished and because of the discourses of the people in whose countries it either originates or is sold.

First of all the liquid (which people experienced in the nature of things correctly call “liquid bitumen” since it is usually distilled from the solid), being similar to olive oil, is especially unctuous and has been named oleum (oil) by various writers at different times and is now called petroleum (petroleum) because it flows from rocks. This same black juice, when liquid, is called pix (pitch) by others because of the similarity in color to that of pitch. From this it is apparent that the name and nature of this substance was evident and well known to some and obscure and unknown to others. Thus many names have been given to one and the same thing and, at the same time, many more names coming from the . . .

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GSA Special Papers

De Natura Fossilium: Textbook of Mineralogy

Georgius Agricola
Georgius Agricola
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Geological Society of America
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January 01, 1955




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