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Top 50 interesting facts about Coal

Following is our collection of incredible Coal fact check articles and charts explaining insights about Coal. Sometimes weird, funny, and true Coal facts.

coal facts
What is Coal?
  1. A group of well preserved wooden spears were unearthed at a German coal mine. They are between 380,000 and 400,000 years old, making them at least 75x older than the pyramids of Eygpt. These are the oldest wooden artifacts ever unearthed.

  2. ~300 million years ago, when trees died, they didn’t rot. It took 60 million years later for bacteria to evolve to be able to decompose wood. Which is where most our coal comes from

  3. The entire US coal industry employs fewer people than Arbys

  4. 28 fossils of the largest extinct species of snake were discovered in a coal mine of Columbia. The "Titanoboa" lived about 65 million years ago. The species clocked out at about 48 feet long and weighed roughly 2,500 lb.

  5. 10% of those conscripted in the UK in WWII were sent to serve not on the battlefield, but in the coal mines that powered the war machine. Some of these soldiers were not released from service until two years after the war ended. They were not formally recognized for their contribution until 1995

  6. Some people in the USA modify their cars to produce thick black diesel smoke to protest/annoy cyclists and environmentalist. It's called 'Rolling Coal'

  7. A train company invented a way to ship oil without pipelines; bitumen is converted into a solid product and sealed in plastic made from recyclables. The pucks are designed to be transported in regular container cars by train and loaded onto cargo ships at coal terminals. They float too!

  8. The ash from coal power plants contains uranium & thorium and carries 100 times more radiation into the surrounding environment than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy.

  9. For every bird killed by a wind turbine, coal kills over 2,000

  10. In 1921 private police in the US dropped bombs and mustard gas on a coal miners' camp when they went on strike for better working conditions

Data charts about Coal

coal fact data chart about Natural Gas has Surpassed Coal as US's Leading Source of Ele
Natural Gas has Surpassed Coal as US's Leading Source of Electricity

coal fact data chart about Coal miner employment versus other US job sectors
Coal miner employment versus other US job sectors

What are some fun facts about coal?

Cost for solar has decreased from $101.05 per watt in 1975 to $0.447 per watt in August of 2016. The cheapest bid for unsubsidized solar is 2.42¢/kWh—cheaper per kWh than natural gas, coal, or nuclear power can provide practically anywhere in the world.

The secret police in Communist Romania subjected the leaders of a 1977 coal miners' strike to 5-minute chest X-rays to ensure that they developed cancer

A coal stoker named Arthur John Priest survived the sinking of five ships, including the Titanic, earning the nickname "The Unsinkable Stoker"

The Great Smog of London in 1952 was caused by using coal as the main source of heat and was responsible for the deaths of around 12,000 individuals.

A mule was found to be alive after being trapped in a coal mine for over a month following a massive landslide. Charlie the horse survived by eating bark from timber supports and drinking from puddles, only to die shortly after his rescue when his rescuers overfed him on oats and brandy.

You receive a higher dose of radiation living next to a coal plant than you do a nuclear plant.

Most Coal formed before Fungus could break down trees. After Fungus evolved to do so, Coal became far less likely to form naturally making it a true non-renewable resource.

After phasing out coal power plants, Toronto has been smog free for the first time in over a decade

According to NASA, the use of nuclear power prevented an average of over 1.8 million net deaths worldwide between 1971-2009 as a result of lower air pollution from reduced coal usage.

The US solar industry employs twice the amount of workers than that of coal, oil, and natural gas combined

The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is powered by solar energy - fact check

Professionals who walk over hot coals and broken glass have confirmed that walking over Lego bricks is more painful

Coal Power Plants generate more radiation than Nuclear Power Plants. Coal contains uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements.They occur in such trace amounts in natural coal. But when coal is burned into fly ash, uranium and thorium are concentrated at up to 10 times their original levels.

Play-Doh was originally used to clean wallpaper. In the 1930s, people burned coal to heat their homes, and rolled the dough across the walls to lift up the soot. The product became obsolete when vinyl wallpaper and new heating methods evolved, so they sold it as a toy.

Lawrence of Rome was sentenced to die by being roasted alive. After a while of being seared over burning coals, he told the executioners "turn me over, I'm well done on this side." Today he is the patron saint of cooks and chefs in the Catholic Church.

Coal power is more radioactive than Nuclear power. - fact check

The Titanic's coal stores had been burning for weeks before she set sail, damaging the starboard side of the ship where the iceberg hit. There was not only a cover-up, but evidence that the fire damaged the hull enough to be a large contributing factor to why the iceberg caused such damage.

Fly ash emitted by a coal power plant carries 100 times more radiation into the surrounding enviornment than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy.

Living near coal-fired power stations exposes people to higher radiation doses than living near nuclear plants

The license plate of Agent Smith's car in the Matrix Reloaded is "IS 5416" - referencing Isaiah 54:16, which states "Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have the waster to destroy."

In 1810 London came to a standstill from a prank by Theodore Hook who sent out thousands of letters requesting services that included hundreds of coal deliveries, wedding cakes, priests, lawyers, doctors, chimney sweeps, and over a dozen pianos to be delivered to the same address. - fact check

Charles Bronson, tough guy actor of classic films like The Magnificent Seven and Death Wish, grew up in abject poverty, the 11th of 15 kids. His family was so poor he once had to wear his sister's dress to school. When he was 16, he mined coal for $1 per ton.

NASA stated that the use of nuclear power saved an average of over 1.8 million lives between 1971-2009 as a result of lower air pollution though reduced coal usage.

North Korea did not return tens of thousands of South Korean POWs after the Korean War in 1953. They and their children were forced to work in coal mines for decades; 79 escaped from 1994 to 2009. Nine hundred US soldiers also may not have been returned.

A 3 mile journey on a steam train, which would have taken 1,000 gallons of water and a tonne of coal, can be replaced by a diesel engine burning 18 gallons of fuel; that's a 98% fall in energy use between the two technologies.

Coal infographics

coal fact infographic about Usage of coal vs other energy sources in the UK 1920-2016
Usage of coal vs other energy sources in the UK 1920-2016

coal fact infographic about US Coal Employees and Production vs Year
US Coal Employees and Production vs Year