Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Fossiliferous Rock and Ooze
Name: Jim
Status: Other
Grade: Other
Location: NY
Country: United States
Date: Summer 2010

I have a large rock (80+ lbs.) made up of various fossils that I keep on my back deck. The recent heat wave in Western New York has caused the side of the rock to crack and a medium brown substance to ooze out from the rock. The substance is thick and smells like petroleum jelly. What is the substance? (pictures can be provided)

The substance is most likely tar. Tar can sometimes be found within limestone having seeped into the rock while in the ground.

Steven A. Miller

Click here to return to the Environmental and Earth Science Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory