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Methane CH4
is the principal constituent of firedamp, and is formed during the natural decay of organic matter, when it is acted upon by Humic and Ulmic acids which occur in moorland water. The firedamp, as now exuded from coal seams, was formed when the vegetable matter from which coal is derived, was accumulating in dense and sub-tropical forests millions of years ago.

Pit Terminology - Glossary