Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The story of asphalt begins thousands of years before the founding of the United States. Asphalt occurs naturally in both asphalt lakes and in rock asphalt (a mixture of sand, limestone and asphalt). The ancient Mesopotamians used it to waterproof temple baths and water tanks. The Phoenicians caulked the seams of their merchant ships with asphalt. In the days of the Pharaohs, Egyptians used the material as mortar for rocks laid along the banks of the Nile to prevent erosion, and the infant Moses' basket was waterproofed with asphalt.