Oil Shale Experiment

Another stop on the trip to Scotland involved looking at the oil shale’s exposed beneath the Forth Road Bridge.

The Forth Bridge
The Forth Bridge

Unfortunately the tide was in meaning we couldn’t look at the outcrops we had intended to, but we did get to see some of the sand produced from these rocks.

The black sand here is fragments of the oil shale. Unfortunately the tide was in so we couldn't see the actual outcrop.
The black sand here is fragments of the oil shale. Unfortunately the tide was in so we couldn’t see the actual outcrop.
Oil shale sand beneath the Forth Bridge
Oil shale sand beneath the Forth Bridge

If you take some of this black sand and heat it up (we used a candle), it is possible to release the hydrocarbons in the rock. Nothing particularly scientific, but its a fun experiment to determine if the rock contains abundant hydrocarbons!

Heating up the oil shale
Heating up the oil shale
Smelling the hydrocarbons released from the oil shale
Smelling the hydrocarbons released from the oil shale
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