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How coal is formed, and how coal is mined. Silent. Subtitled "Studies in Chemistry."
Reupload of a previously uploaded film with improved video & sound.
Originally a public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
Wikipedia license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
Coal (from the Old English term col, which has meant "mineral of fossilized carbon" since the 13th century) is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure. Coal is composed primarily of carbon along with variable quantities of other elements, chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen.
Throughout history, coal has been a useful resource. It is primarily burned for the production of electricity and/or heat, and is also used for industrial purposes, such as refining metals. A fossil fuel, coal forms when dead plant matter is converted into peat, which in turn is converted into lignite, then sub-bituminous coal, after that bituminous coal, and lastly anthracite. This involves biological and geological processes that take place over a long period.
Coal is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide, as well as one of the largest worldwide anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide releases. In 1999 world gross carbon dioxide emissions from coal usage were 8,666 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Coal-fired electric power generation emits around 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide for every megawatt-hour generated, which is almost double the approximately 1100 pounds of carbon dioxide released by a natural gas-fired electric plant per megawatt-hour generated. Because of this higher carbon efficiency of natural gas generation, as the fuel mix in the United States has changed to reduce coal and increase natural gas generation, carbon dioxide emissions have fallen. Those measured in the first quarter of 2012 were the lowest of any recorded for the first quarter of any year since 1992.
Coal is extracted from the ground by coal mining, either underground by shaft mining, or at ground level by open pit mining extraction. Since 1983 the world top coal producer is China, in 2011 China produced 3,520 millions of tonnes of coal -- 49.5% of 7,695 millions tonnes world coal production. In 2011 other large producers were United States (993 millions tonnes), India (589), European Union (576) and Australia (416). In 2010 largest exporters were Australia with 328 million tonnes (27.1% of world coal export) and Indonesia with 316 millions tonnes (26.1%), while largest importers were Japan with 207 million tonnes (17.5% of world coal import), China with 195 million tonnes (16.6%) and South Korea with 126 million tonnes (10.7%)...
At various times in the geologic past, the Earth had dense forests in low-lying wetland areas. Due to natural processes such as flooding, these forests were buried under the soil. As more and more soil deposited over them, they were compressed. The temperature also rose as they sank deeper and deeper. As the process continued the plant matter was protected from biodegradation and oxidation, usually by mud or acidic water. This trapped the carbon in immense peat bogs that were eventually covered and deeply buried by sediments. Under high pressure and high temperature, dead vegetation was slowly converted to coal. As coal contains mainly carbon, the conversion of dead vegetation into coal is called carbonization.
The wide, shallow seas of the Carboniferous era provided ideal conditions for coal formation, although coal is known from most geological periods. The exception is the coal gap in the Permian--Triassic extinction event, where coal is rare. Coal is known from Precambrian strata, which predate land plants — this coal is presumed to have originated from residues of algae...