Surturbrand Enlarge
Oct. 1. 1806. Publish’d by Ja.s Sowerby. London.
British Mineralogy
Carbo oxygenizatus bituminosus


  • Class 1. Combustibles.
  • Order 3. Mixed.
  • Syn.
    • Bovey Coal. Hatchett in Phil. Trans. for 1804. 385.
    • Compact Carbonated Wood. Kirw. 2. 61.

This is found near the mouth of the Ouse, ten miles from Brighton, Sussex, and is of the same kind as the Surturbrand of Iceland. Near the surface of the ground its changes are somewhat different from those of the foregoing, as it is less resino-bituminous, and more oxy-carbonized. It is found in large masses resembling compressed stumps of trees, and is of a most perfect black like Jet; but if compared with good Jet, has rather a gray cast. Sir Joseph Banks gave me a piece near two feet long, and above one in the broadest diameter; the compressed diameter is a little above two inches. The transverse section shows the concentric formation of the wood, and the sides crack and flake off more or less in circles. It is more brittle than Jet, and, being less bituminous, is not rendered electric by friction. It is often so much impregnated with Pyrites that it is apt to fall to pieces with the change of the atmosphere, even when preserved in cabinets.

Mr. Hatchett observes of Surturbrand, Linn. Trans, v. 4. 399, “that it is rather harder than Bovey Coal, but in every other respect the same.” I take the liberty to say that it is generally blacker, and appears to have been less disturbed, being more regularly formed, and the transverse fracture more polished, while that of the Bovey Coal has rather a resinous appearance.

I have a specimen from Dr. Scott, found near Belfast, on the side of a mountain, the stratum being three feet thick, which comes immediately between the two (if we stand upon very nice distinction), not being so soft as Bovey Coal, nor having such a polish as the Surturbrand. Mr. Warburton was so good as to bring me a small series of these productions from Sussex, among which was the Surturbrand.

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