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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 5. (May)

First Page: 940

Last Page: 940

Title: Peat--Potential Energy Bridge for North Carolina: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Roy L. Ingram, Lee J. Otte

Article Type: Meeting abstract


North Carolina has an estimated 1,000 sq mi (2,600 sq km) of peat land containing about 600 million tons of moisture-free peat. Because North Carolina is deficient in energy resources, there is considerable activity aimed at using this peat as a fuel.

Peat deposits in North Carolina are of three main geologic types representing the accumulation of organic matter in: (1) pocosins--broad shallow depressions on an uplifted sea floor; (2) river flood plains; and (3) Carolina Bays--elliptical depressions of unknown origin.

The largest pocosin deposits are : (1) Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula, 360 sq mi (936 sq km), 210 million tons moisture-free peat; (2) Dismal Swamp, 100 sq mi (260 sq km), 60 million tons; and (3) Croatan Forest, 40 sq mi (104 sq km), 23 million tons. These deposits normally range in thickness from 1 to 8 ft (0.3 to 2.4 m).

River flood-plain deposits are of unknown extent. Peat occurs as lenses in alluvial sands and clays and may attain a thickness of 25 ft (8 m).

Five to six hundred Carolina Bays from 0.2 to 3 mi (0.3 to 5 km) in length are scattered over the coastal plain. Many contain high quality peat up to 15 ft (5 m) thick.

Most North Carolina peat is black, fine grained and highly decomposed, with an ash content commonly less than 5%. Sulfur content is low (median 0.2%), and heating value is high (median to 10,300 Btu/lb moisture-free).

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