The Athabasca oil sands consist of uncemented quartzose sand, silt, and clay, impregnated by extremely viscous oil. Seventy-six percent of the variation in the oil content of these sediments is related to the median diameter and to the percentage of clay-size material (less than 2 microns). Analysis of variance of the 2 independent variable shows that the percentage of clay-size material is more effective than the median diameter in determining the amount of oil that the sediment can hold. Most samples of Athabasca oil sand containing more than 10% of oil by weight have median diameter within the range of those of sandstone reservoir rocks from which oil has been produced in commercial quantities.

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