fossil fuel formation

formation of fossil fuels

Can you name some fossils? How about dinosaur bones or dinosaur footprints? Animal skeletons, teeth, shells, coprolites (otherwise known as feces), or any other remains or traces from a living creature that becomes rock is a fossil. The same processes that formed these fossils also created some of our most important energy resources, fossil fuels. Coal, oil, and natural gas are fossil fuels. Fossil fuels come from living matter starting about 500 million years ago. Millions of years ago, plants used energy from the Sun to form sugars, carbohydrates, and other energy-rich carbon compounds. As plants and animals died, their remains settled on the ground on land and in swamps, lakes, and seas (Figure 1.1). Over time, layer upon layer of these remains accumulated. Eventually, the layers were buried so deeply that they were crushed by an enormous mass of earth. The weight of this earth pressing down on these plant and animal remains created intense heat and pressure. After millions of years of heat and pressure, the material in these layers turned into chemicals called hydrocarbons (Figure 1.2). Hydrocarbons are made of carbon and hydrogen atoms. This molecule with one carbon and four hydrogen atoms is methane. Hydrocarbons can be solid, liquid, or gaseous. The solid form is what we know as coal. The liquid form is petroleum, or crude oil. Natural gas is the gaseous form. The solar energy stored in fossil fuels is a rich source of energy. Although fossil fuels provide very high quality energy, they are non-renewable. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:



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fossil fuels are compounds of _____.

a) nitrogen and carbon

b) nitrogen and hydrogen

-->  c) carbon and hydrogen

d) calcium and nitrogen

hydrocarbons in solid form are called _____.

-->  a) coal

b) petroleum

c) crude oil

d) natural gas

hydrocarbons in gas form are called ______.

a) coal

b) petroleum

-->  c) natural gas

d) crude oil

how do fossil fuels form?

-->  a) biological remains are buried beneath masses of sediment and exposed to high heat and

b) dinosaurs are buried in hot tar, adding their bodies to the mass of fossil fuel.

c) plants die in swamps and their bodies are converted to fossil fuels.

d) none of these.

what is the original source of energy for fossil fuels?

-->  a) the sun.

b) heat from the core.

c) heat from burial by sediments.

d) food for the animals.

plants use solar energy to create

a) new plants

b) larger bodies

c) carbon compounds

-->  d) all of the above

methane is a molecule made with one carbon and _ hydrogen atoms.

a) one

b) two

c) three

-->  d) four

fossil fuels are a very poor source of energy.

a) true

-->  b) false

what is the biggest downside our dependence on fossil fuels for energy?

a) they are found almost everywhere.

-->  b) they are non-renewable.

c) they are extremely expensive.

d) they are found below ground.

most of the fossil fuels we use today formed hundreds of millions of years ago.

-->  a) true

b) false

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