What is coal?
Coal is a rock that can burn, and it is made from carbon, water and minerals. It was formed millions of years ago when plants fell into peat swamps and were buried by heavy earth and rocks. Over a very long time, the weight of the rocks and heat in the ground turned the plants into coal.
How old is it?
Most of the world’s coal was formed 300–350 million years ago. New Zealand coals are much younger – they were made 30–70 million years ago.
Kinds of coal
There are different kinds of coal because three things can vary: Coal deposits
Most coal is in the South Island’s West Coast, Otago and Southland. In the North Island, there are coalfields in Northland, Waikato and Taranaki.
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