Day 3: Coal & Plate Motion Map Activity

Lesson Plan - Coal & Plate Motion Map Activity

Developed by 2008-2009 TESSE Graduate Fellows from Penn State University (


Students will:

  1. Review the prime environmental conditions for the formation of coal.
  2. Use paleomaps to examine plate motions from the Silurian to the Late Cretaceous and identify the main coal-forming period in Pennsylvania. (located in separate document)
  3. Use paleomaps to explain the distribution of coal in other regions of the United States.


  • U.S. Coal reserves map (two examples provided)
  • Color copies of 5 Scotese paleomaps (Silurian, Devonian, Early Carboniferous, Late Carboniferous, and Late Cretaceous)
  • Western Interior Seaway map
  • Late Cretaceous Climate map
  • Photos of U.S. swamps and illustrations of PA swamps 300 Ma
  • World coal map for assessment exercise

List of Resources