Skip to Main Content


Peat deposits of North Carolina are of three main geologic types that represent accumulations of organic matter in: (1) coastal swamps or pocosins broad, shallow depressions on stream-dissected emerged sea floor, (2) river flood plains, and 3) Carolina bays - elliptical depressions of unknown origin.

The largest deposits of fuel-grade peat (peat with less than 25% ash) are found in coastal swamps pocosins and are: (1) Pamlimarle peninsula, which has 583 sq mi of peatland with 278 million tons of moisture-free peat (1510 sq km, 252 million metric tons), (2) Dismal Swamp, which has 120 sq mi of peatland and 68 million tons of peat (311 sq km, 62 million metric tons), and (3) Croatan Forest, which has 55 sq mi of peatland and 27 million tons of peat 142 sq km, 24 million metric tons). The thickness peat in these deposits normally ranges from 1 to ft (0.3 to 2.4 m) with an average of about 5 ft 1.5 m).

River flood plain peats of unknown extent and quantity occur as lenses in alluvial sands and clays. The ash content is usually high, averaging about 11%.

Of the approximately 500 Carolina bays larger than 100 acres (40 ha), 96 contain some peat. The largest single deposit contains 1.3 million tons of peat under 1,400 acres (1.2 million metric tons under 740 ha).

Most peats are black, fine-grained, and highly decomposed with ash contents commonly less than 5%. Sulfur contents are low (median 0.2%) and heating values are high (median 10,100 ati/lb, or 23.5 MJ/kg).

North Carolina has an estimated 1,060 sq mi (2,740 sq km) of peatland containing about 500 million tons (450 million metric tons) of moisture-free peat.

You do not currently have access to this chapter.

Figures & Tables





Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal