Why is there so much coal along the eastern coast?



  1. 0 Votes

    There are a couple geologic reasons for this, but the main one is that the east coast is older than the west coast. This lands in the area of plate tectonics, the Pacific plate is clashing with the North American plate, and that collision is generating more land. Therefore, the North American continent is getting new material fro the west and pushing older material towards the east. Coal, taking quite a while to form, is not as present in the newer west as it is in the older east. 

  2. 0 Votes

    The reasons in the other answer are not really correct. There is far more production (currently) of coal from Wyoming than there is from the entire Appalachian Basin, which as an aside is not really the “east coast” but is quite far in the interior. The coal in Wyoming is indeed younger than that of the Appalachian Basin, but there are rocks in the west that are much older than rocks in the east on the surface and in the subsurface. Rocks of the same age as the coal-bearing rocks in the east can be found in the west. It is mostly a matter of the conditions present, since rocks of the same ages are present on both coasts, and in both the interior east and the interior west. Conditions were favorable for coal in the east about 300 million years ago; at the same time in the west, conditions were less favorable. But the east coast is not “older than the west coast” in terms of the ages of rocks present.

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