Meaning, Origin, Uses and Types of Coal:

What is coal?

India is one of the mineral rich countries of the world. Coal is the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India. One of the main reasons for the mineral richness of India is that all kinds of rocks are found here since ancient times. Most of India's metallic minerals come from the Dharwar order rocks and coal is mainly found in the Gondwana order rocks (Gondwana was an ancient supercontinent that broke up about 180 million years ago).

Coal mining in India began in the year 1774, when the Raniganj Coalfield (rail coala maafia) (West Bengal) was commercially exploited by the East India Company. India is the fourth largest coal producer in the world after China, USA and Australia.

How did coal originate?

Coal is a renewable renewable fossil fuel. In ancient times, there were dense swamp forests in different parts of the earth, which got buried in the ground due to geological movements. Over time, the swampy vegetation was converted to coal. After millions of years, due to uplift and denudation of rocks in many areas, underground layers of coal began to appear on the Earth's upper surface.

Uses of coal:

At present, 40 percent of the world's industrial power comes from coal. Now coal is being used to make synthetic petrol and also as a raw material. Although the consumption of coal has been decreasing in the last 4th century due to the increase in the use of other sources of power (petroleum, natural gas, hydro-electricity and nuclear power), coal is still used in iron steel making and thermal power generation. There is no option.

Different strata groups of coal:

Coal in India is mainly found in strata groups of two different eras: first in Gondwana era and second in third Kalpa. At present, India's place in coal mining is third in the world after China and America and there is about 136 kg. Coal is extracted per capita, which is below average. In India, 98 percent of the total coal is found in the Gondwana rocks of ancient times, while the tertiary or tertiary age coal is only 2 percent.

1. Gondwana Age Coal: Gondwana coal is of high grade. It has low ash content and high heat generation power. India has about 2,0624 trillion tonnes of coal from all types of coal deposits of the Gondwana era and the Northeast. The Gondwan era coal is obtained from the plateau part of the south and its age has been determined to be 25 crore years. The major areas of Gondwana era are located in Jharia (Bihar) and Raniganj (West Bengal). Other prominent areas are Bokaro, Giridih, Karanpura, Pench Ghati, Umaria, Sohagpur, Sigreni, Kothgudem etc. are notable.

2. Tershier Age Coal: Tershier coal is of substandard grade. Due to the abundance of sulfur in it, it cannot be used in certain industries. Tershier age coal is found in the north-eastern states (West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland), Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and to a lesser extent in the state of Tamil Nadu. Its estimated age is between 1.5 to 6.0 crore years. Its most prominent regions are Makum region (Assam), Neyveli (Tamil Nadu, famous for Lingite coal) and Palana (Rajasthan).

Coal Type:

On the basis of carbon content, coal is of four types:

  • Anthracite coal: This is the best type of coal. The carbon content in it is more than 94% to 98%.
  • Bituminous coal: It is also called soft coal. It is used for domestic purposes. The carbon content in it ranges from 78% to 86%.
  • Lignite coal: The carbon content in this coal ranges from 28% to 30%. Its color is brown, it contains high amount of water vapor.
  • Peat coal: The carbon content in this is about 27%. Burning it releases more ash and smoke. It is the lowest grade coal.

List of major coal producing states of India:

Name of coal producing state Coalfield
West Bengal Raniganj (Oldest Coalfield in India)
Jharkhand Jharia (largest), Bokaro, Dhanbad, Giridih, Karanpura, Ramgarh,
Madhya Pradesh Singrauli, Suhagpur, Johla, Umaria, Satpura Coalfield
Odisha Talcher, Himgiri, Rampur
Andra Pradesh Kantapalli, Singareni
Chhattisgarh Korba, Bisrampur, Sonhat, Jhilmil, Hasdo-Arand
Assam Makum, Nazira, Janji, Jaipur
Meghalaya Umarlong, Darangigiri, Cherrapunji, Mawlong, Langrin
Arunachal Pradesh Nakmchik-namphuk

Frequently asked questions:

  • What is the land of Gondwana? In the past geological period, a hypothesized large continent located in the Southern Hemisphere, due to which fragmentation led to the formation of present-day South America, Africa, Arabian Peninsula, India, Australia and Antarctica. A landmass, which was the southern part of the pre-Cambrian pangea.
  • Where is maximum coal found in India? In terms of coal production, the state of Chhattisgarh tops the list with a production of 1279.95 million tonnes. Jharkhand has moved to the second position with a production of 113.014 million tonnes, while Odisha is at the third position with a production of 112.917 million tonnes.
  • How is coal made? Millions of years ago, due to natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, lightning in the sky, etc., the trees and plants present on the earth got buried under the ground, due to which coal is formed.
  • What is coking coal? The synthetic substance formed when coking coal is heated above 600 °C in the absence of air is called coke. Coke is stored in a fire furnace along with iron ore and limestone in steel plants to produce steel.

Now practice related questions and see what you learnt?

Coal GK Questions and Answers 🔗

Read also:

Coal Producing States FAQs:

Minerals, oil and coal are found in sedimentary rocks. Sedimentary rocks are also known as secondary rocks because they are formed by the condensation of unconsolidated sediments or by chemical precipitation from a solution or organic matter formed from the remains of plants and animals.

Anthracite contains 86%–97% carbon and generally has the highest calorific value of all the ranks of coal.

The Raniganj coalfield is located mainly in the Asansol and Durgapur sub-divisions of Paschim Bardhaman district in the Indian state of West Bengal.

Anthracite coal contains more than 90 percent carbon and is smokeless.

Anthracite is the best quality coal. In this, the amount of carbon is more than 85 percent, the temperature is high, the moisture is less and the amount of smoke is also found to be less. In India, anthracite coal is found in the Kargil region of Jammu and Kashmir.

  Last update :  Wed 12 Oct 2022
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  Post Category :  Human Geography of India