Coal has intrigued man as a topic of interest, and as a fuel, from the earliest recorded events in our history. Most certainly, prehistoric utilization of coal is noted in archeological investigations. But, what is coal? There seems oftentimes to be a need to define this material. Certainly many have spent considerable effort in this direction.
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It is the intent of this course to deal with the very broad aspects of coal petrology. In the process of doing this, the authors intend to point out many of the areas in which the science has been applied to geological and various production problems and also to suggest some areas where future work may be of value. The emphasis is to provide some basic reference materials, some procedural techniques and possibly some ideas for those of you who wish to pursue work in this area. This course is not intended to train you as a coal petrologist but rather to give you some ideas of what the capabilities and limitations of the field are, and to help you get started on your own if you wish to pursue any of these ideas to greater length.