Abstract

1. Research work in the field of coal geochemistry (being any chemistry bearing on the geological process of coal formation) is briefly sketched--emphasis being placed on work now in progress in the United States. No effort is made to treat any phase of the subject at length; the purpose being, rather, to bring to the attention of geologists work of fundamental importance now being investigated largely by coal chemists.2. The determination of the chemical constitution of coal is being investigated by treating coal by certain techniques familiar to the chemist in other fields of organic chemistry--e.g., oxidation, reduction, halogenation, thermal decomposition.3. Work has been done on the process of coalification by the production of artificial coals from specific plant materials and on several of the biochemical aspects of the coal formation problem.4. Investigations of the physical properties of coal which bear on its chemistry are in progress--particularly in the laboratories of the British Coal Utilization Research Association.5. The suggestion is made that geologists interest themselves in this branch of coal science. Because of the geologist's intimacy with the descriptive side of the world's coal, it is felt that field studies could be supplemented by determinations of certain properties of coal, the theory of which is now being investigated. It is believed that an ultimate understanding of the metamorphic process of coal formation may involve a knowledge of phenomena that, for the most part, transcends the present interests of both the chemist and the geologist. The cooperation between the chemist and the geologist is regarded as important and every effort should be made to bridge the gulf that appears to exist between the terminology and objectives of the two sciences.

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