The Quest for Coal
One of the main reasons the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) was formed was to find coal. It was a very important resource in the 19th century, used to fuel steamships and train engines.
Canada wanted coal. William Logan was hired as the GSC's first director in 1842 because he was a British coal geologist. At this time, the Province of Canada only covered part of the area now known as Ontario and Quebec. Logan quickly concluded that there was no coal to be found in the Province of Canada because its rocks were from the wrong geological period. However, there was coal to be found in what is now New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Alberta, and on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Unfortunately, none of these provinces were part of Canada yet!
Logan did do a detailed study of the coal at Joggins in Nova Scotia in 1843, even though it was not yet part of Canada. By the end of the 19th century, coal mining had become an important industry in both western and eastern Canada. The popularity of coal did not last long after that, however. Coal was eventually replaced by other sources of energy such as oil, gas and hydro.
Coal and diamonds are both made of carbon. Diamonds are much harder than coal. They need a lot more pressure to form. That is why they are found buried much deeper under the Earth's surface.