Skip navigation
1424 Views 7 Replies Last post: Mar 13, 2013 12:37 PM by MikeHardman RSS
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 3, 2013 5:43 PM

Not a rock, but what is it?

DSCF2342 (Medium).jpgDSCF2344 (Medium).jpg

 

 

Hi

 

I found the attached item on the South Coast, near Portsmouth and was wondering what it may be? It weighs only 48grms, and feels about the density of plastic and is definitely not a stone. It has an oily smell and appears to be of animal origin. I would greatful for any suggestions.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 3, 2013 8:38 PM (in response to neil64)
    Re: Not a rock, but what is it?

    Paraffin wax, perhaps?

     

    What happens if you put a match or cigarette lighter near it?

    Does it melt?

    Does it catch fire?

    Does it do both or just one of those?

     

    If it does neither, how hard is it - can you scratch it with a knife?

     

    (Almost certainly, the surface looks different to the interior because of exposure to 'the elements'.)

    • Report Abuse
      • Currently Being Moderated
        Mar 4, 2013 6:28 AM (in response to neil64)
        Re: Not a rock, but what is it?

        Hi Neil,

         

        Lack of melting points away from paraffin/other wax and away from thermoplastic but somewhat towards thermosetting plastics (eg. resins), but the style of fracture is not entirely consistent with that. I'm leaning towards a hydrocarbon-related solid like napthalene (which could arise on a beach from spilled cargo), or hexamine (as used in firelighter blocks, but they are low-smoke). Further than that, I'm out of suggestions, sorry.

        Somebody else may be able to recognize it as of animal origin, perhaps, as you hint.

         

        Notes:

        - Lumps of wax can end-up on beaches as a result of oil-spill clean-up operations.

        - It is not a nylon or other similar white solid plastic because they do not have a strong odour.

        - I should have given you warning about heating/burning your sample regarding flammability and gases; my apologies.

        • Report Abuse
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 4, 2013 10:37 AM (in response to neil64)
    Re: Not a rock, but what is it?

    Ambergris (from whales) may be worth considering, see following link:

     

    http://www.ambergris.fr/identification_of_ambergris.html

    • Report Abuse
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 13, 2013 11:44 AM (in response to neil64)
    Re: Not a rock, but what is it?

    Could be a rockpool encrustation, 'lithothamnia' (=lithophyllum sp's or Lithothamnium sp's) . They are pink & coat rockpools but bleach white after exposure. Collins' seashore of Britain & Europe ISBN 0002199556 (1996) P.29 shows a white encrustation very like this.

    • Report Abuse

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked by (0)

What the symbols mean

  • "correct" answer available
  • "helpful" answer