Q:

How long does it take to make coal?

A:

Quick Answer

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.

Continue Reading
How long does it take to make coal?
Credit: Monty Rakusen Cultura Getty Images

Full Answer

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 about Natural Resources

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why is wind power good?

    A:

    Wind power produces economic, energy and environmental benefits: it serves as a domestic fuel source, operates without burning coal and fossil fuels and provides a steady source of electricity. Wind energy comes primarily from turbines, which operate on land and offshore. Siting is another benefit of wind energy, involving turbines set up on private and public lands in order to provide electricity to residences, commercial offices and communities.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the natural resources of the savanna biome?

    A:

    A savanna or a grassland biome is home to a number of natural resources, including water, livestock and lumber in tropical savannas, and coal, oil, wheat, gas, oats and livestock in temperate savannas. Some grasslands are also found to have mineral deposits, such as iron, mercury, nickel and uranium.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are natural resources of India?

    A:

    India contains an abundance of natural resources, including coal, iron ore, petroleum, chromite, natural gas, limestone, mica and manganese, along with diamonds, rare minerals and agricultural land. India contains large reserves of coal, making it the fourth largest coal supplier in the world. Its resources span the country, appearing in forests, mines and open fields.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some negative issues with regard to coal?

    A:

    Negative issues surrounding coal include the pollution of the air, ground and water. Coal has a negative impact on the ecosystem and wildlife, and coal mining also contributes to acid rain.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore