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Friday, May 30, 2014

From Forest to Coal a geologists tale

Stages of Coal
 The fossil fuel that we still use today known as "coal" was not always a black rock. In fact coal begins its adventure way back when there were massive forests and giant dinosaurs roaming pangea.


Stages of Coal
As you can see from the diagrams coal starts off as a lush forest or a swamp land. The trees die and land on top of one another beginning a thick layer of mushy carbon rich soil. The process begins when that original mushy layer of carbon rich material gets covered by another layer of sediment....sand or potentially a clay rich layer from the incoming and outgoing sea transgressions.

The carbon rich layer begins to compact and lose moisture. The coal goes through four main stages as it loses moisture and other trace material.

The most primal form is still mushy and loose. this is called peat, then to lignite, bitumen (or bituminous coal) and finally anthracite.