Formation and Composition of Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels are complex mixtures of hydrocarbons formed in a process lasting millions ofyears by decomposition ofbiological matter. Carbon and hydrogen are the main components, but other elements such as sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen and metals are also present in small amounts. At normal temperatures and pressures, these compounds may be gaseous, liquid or solid, depending on the complexity of their molecules. All fossil fuels are derived from biological materials, either marine plankton or...