Carbonaceous materia

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By weight, any rock that is half carbonaceous material is coal. Its density is roughly ten times the density of peat. In the United States, there is enough peat to keep Ireland warm for a thousand years. The United States uses almost none of it, because the United States also happens to have a great deal more coal than any other country in the world. Peat that remains near the surfa ce will never become coal. Buried three-quarters of a mile, it becomes bituminous. With a microscope, you can see wood and bark, leaves and roots, seed coats and spores in bituminous coal-and even identify the plants they came from. Buried deeper and folded severely co-working space breda under pressure, it becomes anthracite. Anthracite is roughly ninetyfive per cent carbon and is so hard that it fractures conchoidally, like an arrowhead. Anthracite is iridescent, and burns with a clear blue flame. Coal is a record of tectonics. In late Pennsylvanian time, when the third set of mountains came up in the east and shed still another wedge of debris, kneading it into what had gone before, the great pressure, deep burial, and severe folding produced the anthracites of eastern Pennsylvania, the pod-shaped coalfields of the folded-andfaulted mountains, which erosion and isostasy have lifted from the depths. Anthracite seams are often upside down or standing on end. Here in the Allegheny Plateau, burial was reasonably deep but tectonic pressures were co-working space amersfoort minor, and the result is a lesser grade of coal. We stopped and tried to .collect some but had difficulty finding a sample that would not break up in the hand. “This is very flaky, high-ash coal,” Anita said. “People take it anyway. They come out to these roadcuts with buckets and take it home to burn.”

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