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Oil Sands or Tar Sands

The hydrocarbon mixtures found in northern Alberta have historically been referred to as tar, pitch or asphalt. However, ‘oil sands’ is now used most often to describe the naturally occurring bitumen deposits. This helps distinguish it from the other terms, which are associated with distilled or man-made products, such as the mixtures used to pave roads. Oil sands is an accurate term because bitumen, a heavy petroleum product is mixed with the sand. It makes sense to describe the resource as oil sands because oil is what is finally derived from the bitumen.” Source: