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412 Views 2 Replies Last post: Dec 26, 2013 4:30 PM by zella RSS
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Dec 26, 2013 2:38 PM

Found on Xmas day - south coast after storms - thought it was an ear! ID needed

Does anyone have an idea what this is?

 

It's firm but still has malleable potential - feels like nearl- hardened play-dough. The substance has formed around a shell. It's a very smelly combination.

 

 

christmas 2013 018.JPG

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  • I think it might be tar.

     

    I use that term in the broad sense, to include bitumen. Such terms refer to a range of viscous hydrocarbons, both natural and man-made. Their properties, such as colour and vicsosity vary considerably: some flow readily at room temperature, others are brittle at room temperature (such as pitch, which is interesting because its brittleness depends on how quickly it is deformed (strain rate)).

     

    I suspect your specimen may burn if you try to light it. That would apply to both tar, wax (there are quite a few waxes, not just candle wax), and ambergris (which also smells, but is usually more of a grey colour, but can be brown). Useful intro to ambergris - http://www.ambergris.fr/identification_of_ambergris.html

     

    So here I am expressing an opinion and thinking out loud; hope it may be of some help.

     

    Mike

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