The coal formation process takes millions of years. The coal in use today started to form over 300 million years ago as living trees, ferns and other types of plant material. Coal is a nonrenewable resource because the time it requires for formation far exceeds the rate at which man uses it.Know More
The coal-forming process, known as coalification, involves physical and chemical changes of peat. Peat includes plant parts, decaying plants and the products of the decay process. In order to form peat, the rate of plant growth must exceed the rate at which bacteria can break down the materials, as occurs in the water of bogs and swamps, where bacterial action slows due to a lack of oxygen.
Coalification requires the burial of thick layers of peat. The pressure of the layers deposited above the peat begins to compress the plant materials and squeezes the water from them. Pressure, heat and time cause many changes in the materials, as is evidenced by the formation of methane gas. The process increases the carbon percentage of the coal. The quality of coal depends on when miners remove it from the ground during the coalification process. The longer the coal remains buried, the greater the carbon content. With enough time and pressure, the materials transform to graphite, a mineral containing only carbon.Learn More
Coal is located in seams within the earth and is brought to the surface by a process known as mining. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), there are around 257 billion recoverable short tons of coal in the U.S. as of 2014.Full Answer >
Coal forms from the physical and chemical alteration of organic peat moss. This process, called coalification, takes hundreds of years to complete. During coalification, peat moss undergoes a series of transformations as a result of bacterial decay, compaction, variations in temperature and time.Full Answer >
The two main methods used for coal extraction are surface mining and underground mining. The methods used to extract coal depend on the geology of the coal deposits. According to Energy Trends Insider, the amount of coal produced by one miner in one hour has more than tripled since 1978 because of improvements in mining technology and the growth in surface mining.Full Answer >
Since coal is usually burned to generate electricity for homes, it can be conserved by using energy-efficient bulbs for lighting and by conserving the energy consumed by house heaters and air conditioners. Similarly, insulating walls and cables conserves power, consequently conserving the amount of coal used.Full Answer >