Athabasca oil sand. Handful of oil sand from the area around Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, part of the Athabasca deposits. Oil sands are a form of bitumen deposit. They are created when crude oil is digested by micro-organisms, leaving bitumen and a higher concentration of sulphur compounds and metals. Oil sands typically contain about 12 percent bitumen and are extracted by surface mining. The Athabasca oil sands are the world's largest known hydrocarbon resource.
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