Q:

What is the chemical formula for methane?

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Quick Answer

The chemical formula for methane is CH4. This is the simplest example of a class of compounds called hydrocarbons. Methane occurs in nature, formed from breaking down plant material, in the digestive process in animals and in fossil fuel deposits.

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What is the chemical formula for methane?
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Full Answer

Methane, also called natural gas, forms from the bonding of four hydrogen atoms to a single carbon atom. The hydrogen and carbon atoms share electrons to fill their outer energy levels, producing a more stable configuration for both hydrogen and carbon.

Methane is a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases travel into the atmosphere, trapping the sun's heat on Earth like the glass on a greenhouse. The trapped heat causes global temperatures to rise slowly. Methane is one of the culprits leading to the phenomenon of global warming.


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