No. Although coal is sometimes called an organic rock, it is not a proper rock as rocks are inorganic (lifeless). Coal is a fossil fuel – like oil and gas- that formed over millions of years from the remains of once-living matter.

Coal is the largest source of energy for generating electricity in the world, and the most abundant fossil fuel in the United States.

Fossil fuels are formed from the remains of ancient organisms. Because coal takes millions of years to develop and there is a limited amount of it, it is a nonrenewable resource.

The conditions that would eventually create coal began to develop about 300 million years ago, during the Carboniferous period. During this time, the Earth was covered in wide, shallow seas and dense forests. The seas occasionally flooded the forested areas, trapping plants and algae at the bottom of a swampy wetland. Over time, the plants (mostly mosses) and algae were buried and compressed under the weight of overlying mud and vegetation.

As the plant debris sifted deeper under Earth’s surface, it encountered increased temperatures and higher pressure. Mud and acidic water prevented the plant matter from coming into contact with oxygen. Due to this, the plant matter decomposed at a very slow rate and retained most of its carbon (source of energy).

These areas of buried plant matter are called peat bogs. Peat bogs store massive amounts of carbon many meters underground. Peat itself can be burned for fuel, and is a major source of heat energy in countries such as Scotland, Ireland, and Russia.

Credit: Society

Picture credit: Google

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