Coal (fuel source)

What is coal and how was it formed?

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2010-11-30 00:59:30

Coal is a nonrenewable hard black rock-like substance which is

burned to heat houses and produce electricity and was once used to

power trains and boats. It is made up of: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen,

nitrogen and varying amounts of sulphur.

When the geologists examine the fossil plants in coal, they find

the leaves and bark came from plants which no longer exist on

earth. They infer that these plants probably grew in moist warm

swampy forests roughly 300 million years ago. Over a period of time

the plants in these forests died, leaving layers of decaying wood

and other plant material. As more and more sediments were deposited

the weight of these layers forced out much of the water and gases

from the plant material, making it richer in carbon. Thus began the

slow change over millions of years from wood to coal.

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