National Coal Resource Assessment: A 21st Century Perspective
In 1994, coal production in the United States reached an all-time high of slightly more than 1 billion short tons and, at the current rate of production, 1995 will continue the upward trend of coal production and utilization that began 33 years ago. Previous assessments make it clear that the nation will not soon deplete its total coal resource. Therefore, the current assessment of the nation's coal resources recently begun by the U.S. Geological Survey will not attempt to sum the total U.S. coal endowment, but rather will identify and characterize the coal beds and coal zones that are expected to provide the bulk of the nation's coal-derived energy during the first quarter of the 21st century and, likely, well beyond.
For purposes of this study, the nation has been divided into regions. The more important coal beds or zones of each region will be identified, their distributions will be mapped, and all available information as to resource parameters will be indicated. Special emphasis will be given to coal quality parameters in considering the nature of the resource, principally calorific value, ash yield, and sulfur content. Chemical elements of concern in coal utilization and those of environmental concern will also be delineated wherever there are sufficient data to do so. All data will be stored in digital form, and products will be made available in digital form to whatever extent is possible. The success of the National Coal Resource Assessment will depend, in large part, upon the degree and quality of cooperation that we are able to establish with the state geological surveys and the coal producers in the major coal-producing states. The final products of this cycle of the National Coal Resource Assessment are scheduled for completion in 1999.
AAPG Search and Discover Article #91019©1996 AAPG Convention and Exhibition 19-22 May 1996, San Diego, California