GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coal mine. Cutaway artwork of a coal mine, showing the seams of coal (black) and the tunnels bored into them. Coal is carved from the face and is lifted to the surface by a conveyor belt, which then deposits it in piles (upper right). Coal is a fossil fuel formed from the remains of plants. Over millions of years the remains were compacted to form a carbon rich mineral. The majority of the world's coal was formed in the Carboniferous era, between 345 and 280 million years ago. Coal is the world's major fuel source for energy production, but it is a finite resource. It is estimated that there is enough coal for around 300 years at current usage levels, but usage is likely to change with time.
Model release not required. Property release not required.