Asphalt is a brown to black, high viscosity liquid or bitumen that consists almost entirely of carbon and hydrogen and has a low melting temperature. Natural asphalts form in oil-bearing rocks by evaporation of the volatiles. Asphalt has a low specific gravity and burns with a bright, hot flame. Asphalt is used for road surfacing, as a filler for joints in concrete, as a dust preventive, for roofing and water-proofing, in the rubber industry, in asphalt-based paints, and in the manufacture of asphalt flooring tile.
Asphaltic sand and gravel deposits are present in the Trinity Group (Cretaceous) in Pike and Howard Counties. Most deposits are very small, but may range up to 12 feet in thickness. Between 1900 and 1906, asphaltic sands were mined from open pits about 2.5 miles south of Pike in Pike County. Some 4,815 tons of asphaltic sand, valued at $22,368, was mined and shipped to Little Rock for use in street paving.
Essentially all asphalt now used in Arkansas consists of crude oil residues left over from the production of other petroleum products at refineries. None of the asphalt deposits in the state are presently being mined.
Hayes, C. W., 1903, Asphalt deposits of Pike County, Arkansas: U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 213, p. 353-355.
Miser, H. D., and Purdue, A. H., 1918, Asphalt deposits and oil conditions in southwestern Arkansas: U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 691, p. 271-292.
Miser, H. D., and Purdue, A. H., 1929, Geology of the DeQueen and Caddo Gap quadrangles, Arkansas: U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 808, 195 p.