Name: Emily Ann O.
Date: January 9, 2004
How do you identify coal?
Coal, like a lot of geological "stuff" like rocks, minerals, and even petroleum have a
distinct "finger print" of trace elements that is fairly unique to where it was obtained.
A detailed chemical analysis can identify this "finger print" and determine the origin of
the sample. The chemical method(s) can be pretty sophisticated, so it is not always easy
to do what in principle is possible.
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Update: June 2012