Coal is the world's most abundant fossil fuel and it can supplement a significant part of our energy requirements far into the second millennium. Coal is a unique substance because it can provide energy and industrial products in all states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas). It is extracted as a solid through mining (Picture 1), exploited for it's gas content through coalbed methane development (Picture 2), and removed as a gas and liquid through surface and underground coal gasification processes (Picture 3). Coal can also act as the source rock and host of some "conventional" oil and gas reservoirs (Picture 4).
Coal is a combustible rock that has no fixed chemical formula. It is composed of varying quantities of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and other substances (see Volume 2). The most common use of coal is for the generation of electricity (Picture 5).
Figures & Tables
This volume of the “Atlas of Coal Geology” provides 393 images on various subject matters related to coal deposits and coal resource utilization. The supporting text provides an introductory overview of coal exploration, mining, and coalbed methane (CBM) development, followed by discussions on various megascopic aspects of coal geology (microscopic aspects are covered in Volume 2). Because of the vast subject matter, many generalities had to be made in the text. References are included to guide those interested to more detailed discussions. All citations within the document are linked to the detailed reference list for this volume. The overriding theme for this publication is that a picture is worth a thousand words.