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Baltic amber collected at Sopot, Poland.
Typical beach sand on the Baltic Sea where amber is often washed up.

The Baltic region is home to the largest known deposit of amber, called Baltic amber, with about 80% of the world's known amber found there. It dates from between 35 to 40 million years ago (Eocene Early Oligocene).[1] It has been estimated that these forests created over 105 tons of amber.[2]

The term Baltic amber is generic, so amber from the Bitterfeld mines in Germany (which is only 20 million years old) goes under the same name.

Because Baltic amber contains about 8% succinic acid, it is also termed succinite.

It was thought since the 1850s that the resin that became amber was produced by the tree Pinites succinifer, but research in the 1980's came to the conclusion that the resin originates from several species. More recently it has been proposed, on the evidence of Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy (FTIR) analysis of amber and resin from living trees, that conifers of the family Sciadopityaceae were responsible.[2] The only extant representative of this family is the Japanese umbrella pine, Sciadopitys verticillata.

See also

References

  1. ^ George O. Poinar. Life in Amber. ISBN 978-0804720014. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=J72FOr6AZOEC&pg=PA16&dq=baltic+amber+age#PPA16,M1.  
  2. ^ a b Wolfe, A. P. et al. 2009. A new proposal concerning the botanical origin of Baltic amber. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.0806







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