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Coal in the North American Rocky Mountains: A mined resource

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Goodwill Industries of Northern New England
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geography
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Alison V.
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documents in English
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term papers
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  1. Introduction
  2. The heyday of coal
  3. Growth of towns in the Western states
  4. Environmental effects of the mining process
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

Coal was formed millions of years ago in the cretaceous and tertiary periods, in swamps where ancient plants decomposed and filled swamps with bark, leaves and stems. In oxygenated, moving water, the plants were completely broken down by bacteria, but in stagnant water only certain chemical elements were broken down. In these swamps, the carbon, naturally found in the plants stayed untouched by the bacteria while the oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen elements were partially eaten away. The carbon that remained created peat, the first form of coal. At 50 percent carbon, the longer it sits in the swampy land the more it accumulates and as the swamp and the peat begin to dry out, after much time, the carbon level increases and lignite is formed.

[...] In the United States, due to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, many of these lands must be reclaimed after the coal is extracted. After Reclamation, the lands are used for pastureland and grazing, forestry, wildlife, and recreational use (Coal Association of Canada, www.coal.ca). At first in the United States and Canada, mining was allowed in National Parks. Even when private land ownership was out ruled, mining companies were granted long-term leases. As time went on and ecology became more important mining was not allowed in National Parks. [...]


[...] Coal in the North American Rocky Mountains: A mined resource Coal was formed millions of years ago in the cretaceous and tertiary periods, in swamps where ancient plants decomposed and filled swamps with bark, leaves and stems. In oxygenated, moving water, the plants were completely broken down by bacteria, but in stagnant water only certain chemical elements were broken down. In these swamps, the carbon, naturally found in the plants stayed untouched by the bacteria while the oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen elements were partially eaten away. [...]

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