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What is fossil fuel and why it is so called?

The term 'fossil fuel' is a bit of a misnomer. It refers to fuels that come from ancient life forms that lived long ago (on the order of millions of years) and have remained in the ground for eons, which we're now burning. The primary fossil fuels are coal, petroleum and natural gas. All of these were produced from the biomass of plants and animals that lived a very, very, very long time ago. That matter has changed over time to create these flammable and abundant fuels, which we're now burning in huge quantities.

The reason they're called fossil fuels is actually a bit strange. Fossils are mineralized remains of ancient plants and animals. They're our primary way of studying life forms that lived millions of years ago. But actual fossils have nothing to do with any of the fuels. The term 'fossil' has come to be used as slang for anything particularly ancient, even though that's not the original meaning of the word. As a result, these fuel sources that come from ancient plants and animals are referred to with that word, even though no actual fossils are involved.

The reason fossil fuels, as a class, are so important is because they're non-renewable. Once a fossil fuel is burned, it won't be replaced for millions of years (or possibly ever, as the processes thay created them may no longer work the same wag). That means that when we run out of a fossil fuel, it's gone forever. If we have nothing to replace it, then we're in trouble. The other impact is that there's a huge amount of carbon locked up in the fossil fuels. All of this carbon has sat in the earth for an unimaginably long time. As we burn it, we're releasing this carbon into the atmosphere, in the form of carbon dioxide, which causes serious environmental problems.


This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

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What are your thoughts on this subject?
19 Comments
Leticia Olsen
👍🏼Thanks for further explanation and sharing.
0
Oct 10, 2021 7:32PM
Lupe Hernandez
Don Racette, Your wife told me she wishes she wasn't.
0
Oct 2, 2021 6:14PM
davidmidgley
Mostly old urban legend for an explanation, there is no proof any plant or animal died to turn into the black sludge we refer to as oil. As for renewable or not, saying it's a finite supply maybe true, or not.
0
Sep 6, 2021 5:26PM
Chrissy Krainock Luders
Michael Roebuck, assume you’re not...since you fail to address the POTUS as President Trump.
0
Oct 22, 2019 6:01PM
Chrissy Krainock Luders
Michael Roebuck, you imply only “fans of President Trump”are uneducated about the environment. Perhaps Mr. Stumper knows more about it than you do and is tired about the discussion. Everything isn’t about President Trump or his base.
0
Oct 22, 2019 5:59PM
Michael Johnston
now is the time to change
0
Aug 7, 2019 4:26AM
David Holmes
Jim Rivera, and the earth is flat.
2
Jul 16, 2019 7:05PM
L Lh Adams
Having attended School in Texas when it was the center of oil production,we were taught some of what was known at the time. There were wells in Dallas then.
0
Jul 16, 2019 4:20PM
Acer Wolfe
"... when we run out of a fossil fuel, it's gone forever. If we have nothing to replace it, then we're in trouble." we now this but do we stop? nope
4
Jun 12, 2019 6:00PM
Don Racette
Carlotta Lopez Your husband told me you are always passing gas
1
Dec 31, 2018 4:59PM
Jim Rivera
Nonrenewable? When and oil well is emptied, it gets capped, A couple of years later they come back come and it’s full again. The Russians do this all the time as do we, it is not made from ancient plants or dinosaur bones, The earth itself generates it. Quit believing lies
4
Jul 25, 2018 8:18PM
Michael Henry Horgan
Why is the accompanying photograph of a nuclear plant?
3
Jul 25, 2018 8:08PM
Ron Brown
Some schools teach this stuff, others teach the students how to find what interests them on computer.
1
Jul 25, 2018 6:19PM
Fran Graybowski
Forgive the pun... nothing new here.
2
Jul 25, 2018 5:59PM
Linda Spreng
I knew that 60 years ago.
1
Jul 24, 2018 7:19PM

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