SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Christmas is just a couple of days away and Santa has made his list and checked it twice. If you are worried you made Santa’s naughty list and might get coal…keep reading to find out some facts you should know about your Christmas present and Utah’s official state rock.
According to the Utah Geological Survey, UGS, coal is important to Utah’s history and was mined in the Utah Territory as early as the 1850s. Historically, coal was used to heat houses and power trains which led to its substantial contributions to Utah’s early growth.
In 1991, coal was named Utah’s state rock. In that same year, Utah coal mines produced almost 44 billion pounds of coal which is valued at over $795 million. The UGS reported that in 2013, Utah coal mines produced about 34 billion pounds of coal which is valued at $579 million.
So what is coal used for today besides filling Christmas stockings? Well, Many lights are powered by coal-fired power plants in Utah. Coal is one of Utah’s main ways to generate electricity next to natural gas, hydroelectricity, and other sources.
According to UGS, coal is formed of ancient plant matter. Coal is formed when high concentrations of plants die and accumulate in bogs and wetlands with low-oxygen conditions, burial, heat, and pressure can convert plant matter to coal. When coal is burned, the stored energy is converted to heat which can turn turbines that create the electrical energy used in homes and other buildings.
Worldwide, about 16 trillion pounds of coal are mined annually, with Utah accounting for just around .2% of that.
So now that you know all about Utah’s state rock…maybe getting coal in your stocking isn’t so bad after all.
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