tar sand


: a natural impregnation of sand or sandstone with petroleum from which the lighter portions have escaped

Examples of tar sand in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Vaillant weaves together the story of the tar sands industry, the impacts of climate change and the white-knuckle evacuation of the town into a frightening wake-up call of our new reality concerning wildfires. Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Dec. 2023 Fort McMurray is in the middle of Alberta’s tar sands, or bituminous sands. Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Dec. 2023 The growth in fossil-fuel financing among Canadian institutions may be explained by recent demand from the tar sand industry, Maaike Beenes, the campaign lead at BankTrack, told S&P Global. Michelle Cheng, Quartz, 13 Apr. 2023 One of those spills, a 2010 release of more than 1 million gallons of sludgy tar sand soil into a Michigan creek polluted a nearly 40-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River. Dylan Lovan, Star Tribune, 12 Mar. 2021 The $8 billion pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, through Nebraska and ultimately to refineries in Texas. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, 18 May 2020 Instead of lubricating profits, however, Canada’s tar sands are bunged-up with protests against new pipelines. The Economist, 27 Feb. 2020 The company made a number of oil-intensive investments, such as extraction in the Alberta, Canada, tar sands, that would have been dramatically less profitable if calculated with a high cost of carbon. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, 22 Oct. 2019 This financing—which has included supporting the most extreme oil and gas projects, like the huge pipelines planned in Canada’s uniquely filthy tar sands complex—is perhaps the single least defensible part of the fossil fuel enterprise. Bill McKibben, The New York Review of Books, 25 Feb. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tar sand.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tar sand was in 1899

Dictionary Entries Near tar sand

Cite this Entry

“Tar sand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tar%20sand. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

tar sand

: sand or sandstone that is naturally soaked with heavy sticky portions of petroleum

More from Merriam-Webster on tar sand

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