and mud against oxidization and
biodegradation, thus trapping the atmospheric carbon in the ground. After
several years the chemical and physical properties of the tree remnants were
altered by various geological processes to convert the tree remnants to a solid
material often known as coal. The process of converting tree remnants into coal
is generally referred as carbonization, as coal is mainly composed of carbon.
The enrichment of carbon content in coal is due to action of certain bacteria
that helped in releasing of oxygen and hydrogen from the tree remnants making
the residue more and more richer in carbon. This carbon slowly got
metamorphosed into coal over several millions of years.
Coal formation can be divided
into three stages
1. Formation of peat: In this stage,
continuous layers of plants and trees materials are created by burial of tree
remnants under soil. The burden of overlying strata and change in temperature
leads to the formation of a smoggy and thick material often known as peat.
Plant remains can be easily recognized in peat as it is fibrous, soft and
spongy in nature and it contains large amount of water. Plants and tree
materials are oxidized to water and carbon. However, if the same material
accumulates underwater, then the lack of oxygen leads to the partial
decomposition of the substance. This fractional obliteration is responsible for
the accumulation of an organic substance known as peat.
peat by sedimentary rocks: The physical condition of earth was not stable
billions of years ago. Various earths process like earthquake, landslides,
subsidence and volcanic eruptions have keep changing the makeup of earth’s
surface. These processes have caused the deposition of sand clay and other
materials over the peat leading to compression and strengthening of peat
layers. The deposited materials over the peat are known as sedimentary rocks
and the pressure of these overlying strata squeezed the water out of peat.
of peat into coal: With the passing of time the peat is further compressed
down in the earth to convert it into carbon rich coal. Researchers have
estimated that to form one meter of coal strata, something around three to four
meters of plant and tree remnants are required.