I'm going to be doing a presentation for grade school children, and I'd like them to get a feel for how much source rock it takes to make oil.

It takes about a 10 foot layer of swamp debris to make a 1 foot layer of coal; how thick a layer of oil would that 1 foot of coal make when it converts to oil? (Think of the oil as a pure layer on top of the ground, not absorbed into some porous rock.)

I realize it's not that simplistic, but I'm talking to 6 year olds, so I don't need it exact just the order of magnitude.

  • $\begingroup$ You should express it in carbon equivalents or energy production. $\endgroup$ – farrenthorpe Jun 24 '16 at 0:50
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    $\begingroup$ Please avoid confusing children. You imply that oil is made from coal, which, of course, is incorrect. $\endgroup$ – Gordon Stanger Jun 24 '16 at 5:01
  • $\begingroup$ I edited your post for clarity; if I didn't get it right, please edit it again to correct it. (Or, if you did mean the "coal transformed into oil" implication, then perhaps edit it to remove the coal references and just go for "swamp into oil".) $\endgroup$ – Daniel Griscom Jun 24 '16 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ The only way to convert coal to oil is [artificially] (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_fuel). $\endgroup$ – Fred Jun 24 '16 at 14:10
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    $\begingroup$ Please don't teach kids bad science. It takes soooo much more effort to relearn something that was originally learned incorrectly than to learn it correctly in the first place. Don't simplify stuff. Just tell them how it really works. $\endgroup$ – Antonio Jun 24 '16 at 22:09

None. It does not take any coal to generate oil. Oil is not made from coal. The formation process for oil is a different process to that of coal

Oil is formed from marine organisms. Coal is formed from a peaty mix of dead plants.


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