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ABSTRACT: Coal Resource Investigations for Kentucky: Traditional Versus Coal Availability Investigations

HANEY, DONALD C., and JAMES C. COBB, Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

There have been many investigations of coal resources in the 31 states in the United States where coal is considered mineable. These investigations began in the middle of the last century when railroads and other industries were developing. They were undertaken by federal and state agencies and can be characterized as general in nature and based upon extrapolations of widely spaced data. Presumably, the goal of these studies was to provide general estimates of the original resource as a measure of production capacity to aid resource development. These general coal resource estimates were adequate for planning purposes when coal fields were developing, but now that most coal-producing areas of the United States have produced large amounts of coal and coal development is competing with ther land uses, a new approach to resource assessment is needed.

The coal availability program is a new approach to resource investigations. The purpose of this new approach was to apply additional criteria not previously included in resource studies to obtain more realistic estimates. The coal availability methodology was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in conjunction with the Kentucky Geological Survey and is now in use by the state geological agencies of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, and will be expanded into other coal producing states.

Available coal resources are calculated by subtracting mined-out areas and areas where coal mining is restricted or prohibited from the areas of original coal resources. This is done on a bed basis by using digitized line data for coal outcrops, mined-out areas, and areas where coal mining is restricted; and point-source data for coal thickness in a graphic information system (GIS) developed by the U.S. Geological Survey.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91013©1992 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Champaign, Illinois, September 20-22, 1992 (2009)