Camila Villafañe

By Camila Villafañe

LifeBuzz Staff

Worker Discovers Well-Preserved Dinosaur Fossil In Old Mine.

Non-Conventional Rocks

Non-Conventional Rocks

Suncor Energy YouTube

The fragments that spilled out of his excavator bucket didn’t look anything remotely similar to a rock. And he ought to know. He spends a lot of time working with sand and rock. But this was unlike anything he’d ever seen before. After reeling from the shock, he wasn’t sure if he should study the items further or keep on working. He decided to call his supervisor instead. But neither of them had any clue as to what they’d just uncovered.

Strength And Endurance

Strength And Endurance

Suncor Energy YouTube

It was a typical spring day for Shawn Funk. He was the heavy equipment operator for Canada’s largest energy company, Suncor. He had been assigned to the Athabasca Oil Sand Project at the Millennium Mine in Eastern Alberta. Fortunately, he had plenty of strength and endurance because it was a lot of hard work. But Funk didn’t mind. The pay was good and business was booming. And there was a perfectly good explanation for that.

Hiding Beneath The Soil

Hiding Beneath The Soil

Suncor Energy

The Athabasca oil sands contain bitumen deposits. This heavy type of crude oil was created from the remains of ancient creatures and marine plants that existed millions of years ago. But over time, they became fossils. Approximately 70 percent of the oil sand deposits in the world are located in northern Alberta. But the Athabasca site contains the largest amount. Bitumen has been used for centuries to produce substances such as asphalt, and to waterproof structures. But it wasn’t really considered a part of the globe’s oil reserves because refining the material was not cost effective. However, that changed in recent years. But he had no idea what discoveries awaited under the soil.

Flourishing Business

Flourishing Business

Phys.org

In 1967, the Athabasca site started production. But the real boom began in the 2000s. This is why people headed to Fort McMurray to look for jobs in the various oil sands, pipeline, and natural gas operations in the area. Funk was among those who came to this town. But he never imagined that his story would take the interesting turn it did when he made an amazing discovery that had been right under his feet.

And End To Monotony

And End To Monotony

Suncor Energy YouTube

Thanks to surface mining, deposits can be extracted from about three percent of Athabasca oil sands. And that’s the kind of work Funk was doing. He operated an excavator every day that ripped through the dirt, rock, and sand layers. These materials would then be filtered to attain valuable bitumen. The work was tedious. But one day, Funk’s excavator found something unusual that put an end to the monotony.

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