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Coal is a fossil fuel extracted from the ground by mining. It is a form of carbon and hydrocarbons along with assorted other elements including sulfur. Coal is primarily used as a solid fuelto produce heat by burning, which produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases along with sulfuric acid, or acid rain. In electricty generation, the heat is used to create steam which then is used to power turbine generators.

Coal is formed by millions of years of intense pressure on decaying biological material. It is suspected that it comes primarily from swamp plants, like peat (one reason that coal was relatively common in Britain). It is also believed that all coal was formed during the (conniferous?) era.

Folklore of Coal Stones

Coal is thought ultimately to derive its name from the Old English col but this actually meant charcoal at the time; coal was not dug for prior to the later Middle Ages i.e. after c. 1000 AD. Mineral coal was referred to as sea-coal since it was found washed up on beaches occasionally.

It is associated with the astrological sign Capricorn. It is carried by thieves to protect them from detection and to help them to escape when pursued. To dream of {burning, or burnt?} coals is a symbol of disappointment, trouble, affliction and loss, unless they are burning brightly, when the symbol gives promise of uplifting and advancement.

/History of coal mining.

/Major coal producing regions.

/Major coal exporters.

/Graph of worldwide coal extraction over the last N hundred years.

/Coal mining techniques.

Also a colour.