The carbon is a kind of fossil fuel resulting from the transformation of some vegetable scraps accumulating in different places such as swamps, lakes and deltas. There are several types of coal, one of them is known by the name of anthracite , a metamorphic rock that has managed to undergo a transformation through a process of change .

What is anthracite?

The anthracite is a type of rock metamorphic , a type of coal that because of its prolonged burial has succeeded in changing becoming the last phase of the transformation suffered by sediment type organic constituting rocks.

  • Anthracite characteristics
  • Story
  • Composition
  • Properties
  • What is anthracite for
  • Training
  • Obtaining
  • Bookings
  • Environmental impact
  • Cost per country
  • Advantages of anthracite
  • Disadvantages
  • Importance

Anthracite characteristics

Anthracite has several characteristics, among the most important we can mention the following:

  • This rock has a lower percentage of moisture than other types of coal.
  • Its structure is foliated .
  • Its color is glossy black or dark gray .
  • It has a fairly simple texture and is also foliated .
  • It is a metamorphic rock.
  • They have a very good calorific and energetic power .
  • It is considered as the last phase that occurs in the transformation of settled coal.
  • It does not turn easily but when it does forms a flame color blue .


The history of anthracite began in the mid- 18th century in Delaware and Susquehannock . Later, the first mine to extract the material was created in 1775 very close to the city of Pennsylvania. During the 1820s , coal was already being shipped out of the way and with this a great expansion of the mining and rail field was achieved .

The anthracite mining industry dominated the region until its decline in the 1950s . The opencast mines and fires , especially in Centralia, caused a lot of damage are still visible. In the coal region, there were several violent incidents in the history of the American labor movement , as the Lattimer Massacre took place here .


Anthracite is a rock that is composed of various sediments which are very rich in organic matter . When these are transformed, they become graphite and this in turn has carbon, so most of the anthracite is composed of graphite and carbon.


Its main properties are the following:

  • It is quite dense, 2 gr / cm3 .
  • Its Mohs hardness is between 2 and 4.
  • Its calorific value is from 32 to 33 MJ / Kg.
  • Its humidity is much less than 10%.

What is anthracite for

Anthracite has a host of important uses. It is an excellent means to be able to filter and clarify the water so that it is drinkable, when mixed with some filter sands, thanks to its grains, it is possible that it retains materials that are in suspension. Thanks to its great energy and calorific power, it is used in various types of industries . It has the great capacity to be able to produce between 32 and 33 MJ / Kg and this makes it one of the favorite materials to be used as fuel .

It is used to move the large turbines of hydroelectric plants because it has the ability to make them work more efficiently as it is a more profitable and economical type of fuel, it is capable of moving trains and it also participates in the manufacture of cement and iron . Currently one of its main uses is the production of electricity through the combustion process. In some extremely cold regions like Alaska, anthracite is also used to heat the homes and to cook .


The formation of anthracite begins with the accumulation of organic remains that come mainly from plants , especially in environments where there is little oxygen and which are also swampy . These sediments accumulate little by little and then are buried at greater depths where conditions cause them to undergo a series of changes in terms of pressure and temperature .

Subsequently, the sediments are managed to transform into a type of sedimentary rock through a process known as lithification and, when the burial of the rock increases, so does the pressure and temperature, forming anthracite thanks to the metamorphism that the rocks undergo. sedimentary .


Anthracite can be obtained from coal mines but it can also be manufactured by subjecting the coal to temperatures ranging between 170 ° and 250 ° C. To extract it, open-pit mining is generally practiced .


Anthracite reserves are found in the same place where coal can be found . The main places that are considered as reserves are the United States , Canada , China , Australia and Colombia . China is considered the country that produces the most anthracite.

Environmental impact

The production of electrical energy by burning anthracite is beneficial for the environment as it has the ability to produce a lower amount of toxic gases compared to the combustion of other materials such as oil. Despite this, the extraction and process to obtain anthracite have had a great impact on the terrestrial and aquatic environment , many forests have been destroyed due to open pit mining and thousands of acres of land have been destroyed. The productivity ecological , diversity in theflora and fauna have been significantly damaged.

Its extraction has also caused many aquatic communities in streams and wetlands near the mines and has had a strong negative impact on the habitats of animals. Mining has also caused wetlands to be lost by degrading the natural ability of water to filter. Mining also causes acid to be released in mines and surrounding areas, causing iron and aluminum to accumulate in rivers.

Cost per country

  • Spain : in this country, anthracite has an approximate cost of around 0.53 euros per kilo.
  • Mexico : here, a kilo of anthracite is around 120 Mexican pesos.
  • Colombia : in the country it has an approximate value of $ 43,000 for 30 kilos of anthracite.

Advantages of anthracite

Anthracite has several important advantages not only over other forms of coal, but over other energy-producing materials in general. Its most important advantage is that it has the ability to produce very little pollution or soot , which makes it a very clean heat source . It is also very efficient , as only a small amount needs to be burned to produce a large amount of energy. In addition, there is a lot of anthracite , so it is not a material that tends to be in a state of extinction.


Although anthracite has many benefits and uses, it also has some drawbacks. For example, it is more expensive than other forms of coal due to its high quality and this is precisely why anthracite is not used in power plants or as a substitute for petroleum gasoline in automobiles. It is more difficult to light than other forms of charcoal and requires a stream of air from below to start the fire. When it is underground it can cause underground fires that can burn for years or decades undetected due to lack of smoke.


At present, anthracite is important especially in places that are extremely cold and have problems distributing electricity as it is one of the best means to create thermoelectric power plants and to heat homes. It is also very important for water filtration so that drinking water can be had in many places.

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