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intro_to_geo_24 - Energy resources cont How is coal formed...

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Energy resources cont. How is coal formed? Coal represents the remains of plants that lived and died in moist or swampy environments, in which there was little bacterially induced decay As trees and other plants died, their organic matter continued to accumulate, and burial compaction eliminated some of the volatile materials, forming peat from the remains Major coal-forming periods Eocene (56-35 ma) “Hothouse” Earth - Ice-free world Extensive wetlands along Gulf Coast Cretaceous (146-65 ma) “Hothouse” Earth - Ice-free world Interior of North America flooded Mississippian – Pennsylvanian (363-290 ma) Extensive deltaic wetlands to the west of Appalachians Forests were “new” to the planet From peat to anthracite With additional heat and pressure derived from later, deeper burial under layers of sediment and rock, lignite, bituminous, and occasionally anthracite coal are produced. Each higher rank in the peat-coal transition is closer to pure carbon in
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