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Among the various substances which are found in the earth‘s crust, petroleum and natural gas occupy a unique position in that they are combustible fluids. The highly distinctive and interesting properties of petroleum would alone have led to close investigation of its origin and occurrence, but its widespread distribution and great usefulness to mankind have made it the objective of many lines of scientific research and have gained for petroleum geology a leading position in geologic science.

The geology of petroleum may be considered from either of two standpoints. In the field of economic geology it has become one of the most important branches and has attracted to it the largest group of specialists concerned with any mineral resource. Apart from its economic importance and in its proper relation to other divisions of geologic science, petroleum geology may be regarded as a branch of sedimentary petrology, co-ordinate with hydrology or the geology of coal deposits.

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