--> --> Abstract: Need for Better Coal-Resources Assessments, by John E. Johnston, Gordon H. Wood; #90968 (1977).

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Abstract: Need for Better Coal-Resources Assessments

John E. Johnston, Gordon H. Wood

The current coal resources of the United States are 4 trillion short tons (3.6 trillion MT). Although this figure is immense, it includes all ranks of coal, both identified and hypothetical, to a depth of 6,000 ft (1,800 m). These coal resources are distributed in various areas in 38 states throughout rocks ranging in age from late Paleozoic to Tertiary. In contrast, the U.S. reserve base (measured and indicated coal at depths of 1,000 ft--300 m--or less) amounts to 437 billion short tons (395 billion MT), of which an average of 50% is considered recoverable. Determination of the geographic, stratigraphic, and structural locations of coal resources and the categorization of the reserve base as to rank, geochemical constituents, coking potential, and sulfur and ash content are enormous tasks. Both industry and government fully recognize the need for these detailed assessments, and each is approaching the task consistent with its own information requirements and available capital.

The major role of the petroleum geologist is to discover commercially producible quantities of oil and gas; in contrast, the primary role of the coal geologist is to assess known coal deposits and their related rocks in relation to end-use requirements, mining methods, and environmental and social impact. The coal deposits of the United States need to be assessed adequately at regional, area, and mine-site scales to provide a data base that will support the efficient production and utilization of the quantities of coal needed in the last quarter of this century.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90968©1977 AAPG-SEPM Annual Convention and Exhibition, Washington, DC