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Although both peat and lignite and hard coal are produced by similar processes, they actually require different conditions. The main one is the time needed to produce the raw material. This is why we can find them in completely different regions of Poland.
Peat these days is not just opal
For centuries, peat remained a common and very willingly used fuel. Although today it is also used in this role (usually then it takes the form of so-called fuel peat or peat semi-coke), then its main use was slightly different. So where is peat used? Currently, peat is used, for example, in medicine. Its beneficial properties for health are known, used to prepare, among others, therapeutic mud baths. In a similar way, peat is used to produce natural cosmetics. Peat also has an extremely large contribution to the agricultural and horticultural industries. It is used to produce nutritious peat fertilizers, as well as just gardening soil, and even disposable pots for seedlings.
What exactly is peat and how exactly is it formed?
Not everyone is aware that peat is actually a rock, classified as a sedimentary rock. However, special conditions are necessary for its creation. Like all rocks of this type, peat is formed as a result of transformations taking place in dead remains of plant origin. The point is that in order for peat to form, the decomposition of these remains must be incomplete and should occur in areas with very high soil moisture, i.e. swampy areas. This is how peat, rich in countless plant remains and natural humus, is created. It is to this that it owes its beneficial properties, which have such a great impact on both our health and the plants planted in it – it is a natural product extremely rich in minerals, especially valuable iron and phosphorus. His performance is also important. It is originally from 4 to 5.
How is peat transformed into lignite and hard coal?
At the same time, all the processes and properties described above make peat not a very good fuel product – it contains less than 60% of carbon. Its calorific value only increases over time, when the peat is covered with younger sediments. Then the sediment pressure on the peat increases, as does the temperature. Oxygen and water slowly disappear, and over many millions of years, peat turns successively first into lignite and then into hard coal.
Lignite and hard coal
When, after millions of years, peat turns into brown coal, the content of real carbon in the raw material increases up to 75%, and with it the calorific value of the product. However, it is the highest only in the case of the oldest sedimentary rocks, in which almost all the remains have already undergone the so-called coalification. Hard coal belongs to them – this tarry black product can contain up to 97% of pure coal. Thus, each of these products – peat, lignite and hard coal – are formed as a result of very similar processes, but the time that nature had at its disposal to produce each of these precious raw materials is different. This is why peat is found rather in the north of our country, because those areas of Poland abound in wetlands, and the soil on them is relatively young.
Where are the peat deposits in Poland?
In the northern part of Poland, where more than half of the raw material collected in our country is located, there are probably over 50,000 peatlands, of which as much as 36% are potentially suitable for the implementation of the peat extraction process. According to geologists’ estimates, this means that there are about 75 million tons of peat in Poland.
Where are the lignite deposits in Poland?
As for lignite, there are as many as three times more deposits of it in Poland than in the case of peat. According to geological reports, over 150 of them have been recognized in our country. The most coal-bearing areas include, above all, the vicinity of Legnica, Głogów and Gubin, and the most abundant in brown coal are the Bełchatów, Turoszów and Konin-Turkish basins.
Where are hard coal deposits in Poland?
In Poland, hard coal is found mainly in the southern part of the country, and most of it is found in three basins famous for their rich deposits: Upper Silesia, Lublin and Lower Silesia. Most of the deposits are located in the area of the former. It is estimated that up to 80% of all hard coal accumulated by the forces of nature in Poland may be located in Upper Silesia, which translates into about 140 deposits. For comparison, only 1% of hard coal deposits are located in Lower Silesia.