Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels or mineral fuels are fuels formed by natural resources such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years. These fuels contain high percentage of carbon and hydrocarbons.

Origin

Fossil fuels, coal, oil and natural gas, are a non-renewable source of energy. Formed from plants and animals that lived up to 300 million years ago, fossil fuels are found in deposits beneath the earth. The fuels are burned to release the chemical energy that is stored within this resource. Energy is essential to modern society as we know it. Over 85% of our ...

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known as kerogen which is found in oil shale’s, and then with more heat into liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons in a process known as catagenesis.

Going back to the earlier days of Earth, the plants and animals that lived then eventually died and decomposed. The majority of these life forms were phytoplankton and zooplankton. When these ancient ocean dwellers died, they accumulated on the bottom of a seabed; this is how a good portion of our fossil fuel reserves began. The actual transformation process of these prehistoric creatures is not known, but scientists do know that the pressure, heat, and a great deal of time go into the making of fossil fuels.

Geologists are fairly certain that the beds of organic remains mixed with silt and mud to form layers. Over time, mineral sedimentation formed on top of the organisms, effectively entombing them in rock. As this occurred, pressure and temperature increased. These conditions, and possibly other unknown factors, caused ...

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dioxide, volatile organic compounds and heavy metals.

Combustion of fossil fuels generates sulfuric, carbonic, and nitric acids, which fall to Earth as acid rain, impacting both natural areas and the built environment. Monuments and sculptures made from marble and limestone are particularly vulnerable, as the acids dissolve calcium carbonate.

Fossil fuels also contain radioactive materials, mainly uranium and thorium, which are released into the atmosphere. In 2000, about 12,000 tonnes of thorium and 5,000 tonnes of uranium were released worldwide from burning coal. It is estimated that during 1982, US coal burning released 155 times as much radioactivity into the atmosphere as ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 5/1/2011 06:12:49 AM
Submitted By: prateek
Category: Environment
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1389
Pages: 6

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