The four stages in coal formation are peat, lignite, bituminous and anthracite. Each of these stages must be completed for coal to form.Know More
Stage one in coal production is peat. Peat is a fibrous substance that is oxidized by water and carbon dioxide. When a plant dies, and stays under water, it builds up an accumulation of peat. Peat, when burned, produces a lot of smoke and a large flame and therefore is rarely used as a heat source.
Stage two of the coal formation process is lignite. Lignite forms when peat is put under considerable vertical pressure. It contains small amounts of plant matter and is very fragile so it must never be handled before burning.
Bituminous coal is the third stage of coal production. The lignite continues receiving heavy vertical pressure until it turns a dark brown and becomes soft coal. Bituminous coal is used as an energy source in many parts of the world.
The final stage of coal production is the anthracite stage. During this stage, soft coal becomes hard coal. It takes on a certain luster and is formed due to intense pressure and high temperatures. Anthracite produces little smoke and is the coal most people are familiar with.Learn more about Geology
The primary disadvantages of coal stem from its adverse health and environmental effects. Burning coal produces harmful waste, including carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphuric acids and arsenic. Coal-fired power plants are responsible for roughly 24,000 premature deaths each year in the United States, with 2,800 deaths from lung cancer alone.Full Answer >
The first recorded discovery of coal in the United States is believed to be on the Illinois River in 1679 by French explorers. Historians, though, believe that the Chinese discovered coal more than 3,000 years ago.Full Answer >
The basic difference between coal and coke is that coal is the natural source and coke is the derivative product produced by destructive distillation. Both are used as fuel, but coke contains a higher carbon content and few impurities. Coke is also used during iron ore smelting as a reducing agent.Full Answer >
Coal is a cost-effective and reliable form of energy, but there are concerns about the impact that coal has on the environment. It is a fossil fuel that is found in mines in countries around the world, including the United States.Full Answer >