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Coal

Part of the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series book series (EESS)

Definition

Coal is a brownish-black to black, combustible, naturally occurring sedimentary rock formed from fossilized plants and vegetable matter consisting of amorphous carbon with organic and inorganic compounds.

Characteristics

Coal occurs in seams in series of alternating sedimentary sequences known as cyclothems. Coal deposits occur in sedimentary basins around the world from Devonian to Quaternary in age. Coal is used to generate electricity (thermal or steam coal) or to produce iron and steel (coking coal) (Fig. 1).

Coal, Fig. 1
figure 329

Exposure in an open pit mine, exposing a historical, shallow, abandoned room and pillar mine, Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom (Photo. Dr. L. J. Donnelly)

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Coal, Fig. 1

References

  • Bell FG, Donnelly LJ (2006) Mining and its impact on the environment. Taylor/Francis (Spon). London, UK

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  • Bell FG (1983) Fundamentals of engineering geology. Butterworths, London

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  • CIRIA (2017) Abandoned mineworkings manual, RP940. CIRIA, London (pending)

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  • Scott B, Ranjtih PK, Choi SK, Khandelwal MJ (2010) Geological and geotechnical aspects of underground coal mining methods within Australia. Environment Earth Science 60:1007–1019

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  • Thomas LP (2013) Coal geology. Wiley. Chichester, UK

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Correspondence to Laurance Donnelly .

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Donnelly, L. (2018). Coal. In: Bobrowsky, P.T., Marker, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73568-9_55

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