Coal is a mineral mined in east Tennessee. While not one of the largest coal producing states in the United States, Tennessee still has a rich history of coal mining. The industry still has a presence in the region today. Even though production does not match larger coal producing states, the coal industry brings meaningful revenue to the state of Tennessee. This paper examines the industry, coal mining practices within the state and its financial impact.
What is Coal?
With a composition of carbon along with hydrogen and oxygen, coal is a sedimentary rock that is combustible. “It is formed from vegetation, which has been consolidated between other rock strata and altered by the combined effects of pressure and heat over millions of years to form coal seams” (WCA, 2014). As a fossil fuel, coal combustion provides the heat necessary for the production of electricity but also has uses in other industries.
The consolidated vegetation that eventually formed coal accumulated in swamps and peat bogs. Three hundred sixty million to two hundred ninety million years ago during the first coal age, otherwise known as the Carboniferous Period, coal formation took place. Tectonic movements of the Earth’s crust is responsible for burying the swamps and peat bogs that eventually, under high temperatures and pressure, caused the physical and chemical changes that transformed the organic material into coal.
Types of Coal
Like the general term automobiles and the types of automobiles like sedans, coupes and station wagons, coal, the general term, has four different types. They are anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite. Anthracite is a hard coal with a high luster. Its uses include stoves, furnaces or fo...
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Sourcewatch. (2012). National coalmine twelve. Retrieved from http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/National_Coal_Mine_12
Sunshine, W. (2014). Lignite. Retrieved from http://energy.about.com/od/Coal/a/Lignite.htm
Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC). (n.d.). Tennessee’s mineral industry. Retrieved from http://www.tn.gov/environment/geology/mineral-industry.shtml
United Mine Workers Association (UMWA). (n.d.). Room and pillar mining. Retrieved from http://www.umwa.org/?q=content/room-and-pillar-mining
World Coal Association (WCA). (2014). Coal information. Retrieved from http://www.worldcoal.org/coal/#cookie_accept
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