Coal is a black substance. It is made of fossilized carbon. Coal is formed when peat (a kind of soft mud) succumbs to the pressure of rocks on top of it over a number of centuries.
Coal is used as a source of power. When burned, coal releases energy. The importance of coal is highlighted below.
1. Source of work: for centuries, coal mining has been a key, stable job for people all over the world.
2. Source of energy: coal’s central importance is its role as a source of energy. It has been used for hundreds of years both to power factories and machinery (including trains) and to heat the homes of ordinary people.
3. Ancient: coal is an ancient substance. When you hold a piece of coal in your hand, you are holding a substance that formed over many thousands of years.
4. Related to diamonds: coal may look very different to diamonds, but both are made of compressed carbon.
5. Transportable: unlike solar energy or wind energy, coal can be transported across the world to wherever it is needed.
6. Finite: our coal resources are finite. As such, coal is becoming an increasingly important and cherished natural resource.
7. Geological interest: the formation of coal is of great interest to geologists.