As the plant material begins to break down it turns into a
fibrous material called peat. Peat is the partially decomposed
plant material that can eventually turn into coal when
subjected to more heat. Also known as turf, peat has
traditionally been harvested around the world for fuel
after it is cut from marshlands like bogs or fens.
The initial decomposition of plankton leads to a waxy
material called kerogen. Kerogen is the partially
decomposed plankton that can eventually turn into oil and
natural gas when subjected to more heat. It is found in the
form of shale rock or “oil shale” along with other minerals.
Throughout history commercial interests have tried to
produce oil from kerogen, however, the labor,
necessary resources, and hazardous waste
byproduct have halted all attempts.