Taylor, Thomas N. Department of Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
Last reviewed:November 2019
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Variously shaped nodules consisting of fossilized peat in which the individual cells and tissue systems of the plant parts are infiltrated by minerals, principally calcium carbonate, along with pyrite, dolomite, and occasionally silica. This type of fossilization, in which the cell walls are filled with minerals, is termed permineralization. Coal balls occur principally in Pennsylvanian (upper Carboniferous) bituminous and anthracite coals, often below black marine shales in North America, but permineralized plants have also been reported in coals from as early as the Devonian and extending well into the Paleocene.
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