we find coal in the soil near our home, along railroad tracks, or along
Coal formed millions of years ago, when thick layers of dead plants were buried deep within the Earth.
To learn more about coal, scroll farther down this page.
|We found these broken pieces of coal in the soil around our home.|
|These rounded lumps of coal washed up on a Lake Michigan beach.|
|How to recognize coal|
|Other rocks that look like coal|
|Where coal came from|
|How coal formed|
|Other names for coal|
|Links to Web sites about coal|
also called Volcanic Glass:
The coal that we find in soil near our home
probably was mined here in Illinois or nearby
Midwestern states. It was brought to our
neighborhood about 50 to 100 years ago,
when most people had coal-burning furnaces
to heat their homes.
The coal that we find along railroad tracks and
beaches may have been brought here by trains
or boats from the either the Midwestern or
Western United States.
Coal formed from thick layers of dead plants
that piled up in ancient swamps. The dead-plant
layers were buried deeper and deeper under
even thicker layers of sand and mud. During
burial, pressure and heat changed the plant
material into coal.
All this took place millions of years ago. Coal
from the Western United States usually formed
during or after dinosaur times (about 50 to 100
million years ago). Coal from Illinois and nearby
states formed long before dinosaur times (about
300 million years ago).
Coal is also known by other names:
|Here are some ways to classify coal (by
grouping it with similar types of rocks):
There is a huge amount of information about coal on the Web!
However, most of it is written for adults. Many of the sites that have
been developed for children have been created by the coal industry.
Some of these sites seem to advocate for the use of coal in ways
that some environmentalists might not support. So, surf for coal with
an open-but-wary mind!
Here's a long Encarta® Concise Encyclopedia article
< http://encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp?z=1&pg=2&ti=761558734 >
Coal Country is an multimedia introduction to coal and
suitable for elementary school students. You can access both
the online preview and the downloadable version here:
< http://energy.er.usgs.gov/products/cc/ >
The Life, Death and Afterlife of a Carboniferous Coal
Forest is an
illustrated introduction to how coal forms. This seems most appropriate
for older students and adults.
< http://www.wf.carleton.ca/Museum/carbocoal/OPEN.HTM >
Here's an Encarta® Concise Encyclopedia article about
< http://encarta.msn.com/index/conciseindex/5D/05D9B000.htm?z=1&pg=2&br=1#s3 >
Encyclopedia.com has some articles about
< http://www.encyclopedia.com/searchpool.asp?target=@DOCTITLE%20coal >
The American Coal Foundation is an educational group funded
the coal industry. Here's a link to their FAQ and Coal Quiz pages:
< http://www.acf-coal.org/pages/FAQ.html >
They also have a section of coal-related educational activities:
< http://www.acf-coal.org/pages/activities/activities.html >
The Coal Education Website is funded by the Kentucky Coal
They have online videos, online mining picture puzzles, and a section
< http://www.coaleducation.org/ >
Coal is an incredibly complex material. If you want to
how scientists study coal, you can visit this Web site:
Petrographic Atlas of Coal and Carbon Compounds
< http://mccoy.lib.siu.edu/projects/crelling2/atlas/ >
Copyright 2001-2002 Eric D. Gyllenhaal
Neighborhood Rocks is part of the Salt the Sandbox Web.
For more information visit the Salt the Sandbox home page.
This page was created on October 9, 2001, and it was last updated on July 27, 2002.