Coal is formed by ancient plant materials while oil and gas forms from, mostly, ancient algae and other micro-organisms found in ancient seas.
Coal forms on land in massive peat bogs that eventually get buried by the sea and other sediments are laid on top of them – after millions of years, the peat turns into coal
Oil and gas are derived from algae and other organisms living and dying in the oceans. They eventually get covered by other sediments and the whole lot turns to rock. But the oils and the gases from the dead algae eventually get squeezed up out of their original rock formation, migrate upwards in the sedimentary rock basin and then get trapped in a reservoir. See pics.
Fossil fuel is a term that describes fuels made from buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials
“Fossil fuel means the buried combustible geologic deposits of organic and natural materials, formed from decayed plants and animals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils by exposure to heat and pressure in the earth’s crust for many years”-ScienceDaily. Fossil fuels are usually found under the Earth.
The image below shows how oil and gas deposits below the ocean floor are formed and exploited:
Fossil fuels take a very long time to form (usually millions of years). Because of this time scale, they are not considered renewable sources of energy.
Fossil fuels are currently the main source of energy for much of the world:
To learn more about fossil fuels, check out this link.


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