What are fossil fuels?



  1. 0 Votes

    Fossil fuels are substances formed hundreds of millions of years ago during the Carboniferous Period.  There are three varieties – coal, oil and natural gas.  The basic element in these is Carbon, and they were formed over hundreds of years by decomposing plant matter.  When plants died, they sank below swamps and oceans and became peat, which was covered by sand, clay and other materials until they formed sedimentary rock.  As layers of rock formed on top of the peat, the water was squeezed out of it until it became one of the fossil fuels.

    Coal is made of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and some sulphur.  It comes in three varieties – anthracite, lignite and bituminous.  Anthracite has the most carbon, while lignite has the least.

    Oil may have been formed by diatoms, tiny sea creatures who can use photosynthesis; they go through the same process that peat does.

    Natural gas is made of methane, or CH4 (one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms) and is usually found near oil.

  2. 0 Votes

    Fossil fuels are fuels derived from prehistoric organisms or any carbon-containing fuel derived from the decomposed remains of prehistoric plants and animals, e.g. coal, peat, petroleum, and natural gas.

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