13 Facts About Coal


Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata called coal seams.

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Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of other elements, chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen.

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Coal is formed when dead plant matter decays into peat and is converted into coal by the heat and pressure of deep burial over millions of years.

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Coal is known from Precambrian strata, which predate land plants.

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Coal cinders have been found in the hearths of villas and Roman forts, particularly in Northumberland, dated to around AD 400.

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Coal played an important role in industry in the 19th and 20th century.

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Coal continues to arrive on beaches around the world from both natural erosion of exposed coal seams and windswept spills from cargo ships.

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Coal can be converted directly into synthetic fuels equivalent to gasoline or diesel by hydrogenation or carbonization.

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Coal liquefaction emits more carbon dioxide than liquid fuel production from crude oil.

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Coal can be used as a feedstock in the production of a wide range of chemical fertilizers and other chemical products.

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Coal is used to produce very high temperatures through combustion.

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Coal-powered plants emit nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate pollution and heavy metals, which adversely affect human health.

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Coal is the official state mineral of Kentucky and the official state rock of Utah; both U S states have a historic link to coal mining.

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