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Use of Pre-existing Coal Mine Maps and Drill Holes for Coal Bed Methane Exploration

Paul R. Coyle1, and Brianne M. Cassidy1

1National Mine Map Repository, Office of Surface Mining, Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Coal seams in the eastern United States have become a target for coal bed methane (CBM) exploration. CBM has recently been recognized as a viable source of energy. CBM is bonded to coal and emitted from both active and abandoned mines. Coal seams and mines are found throughout the Appalachian Basin, where a long history of mining provides a wealth of geological information. The use of pre-existing mine map and drill-hole data allows for quick means of ascertaining information for CBM exploration. The Office of Surface Mining’s National Mine Map Repository is a national clearinghouse for coal mine maps for the entire United States. While this repository is not complete, data available from more than 300,000 mine maps may include: 1) coal seam elevation,

2) coal thickness, 3) coal analysis, 4) structure, 5) location of mining, 6) stratigraphy,

7) coal rank, 8) property ownership, 9) the location of exploration drill-holes and gas wells, and the 10) location of mines. Drill-hole logs and other coal data useful for finding CBM locations, boundaries, and quality are generally obtainable from the various state geological or economic surveys.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90059©2006 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Buffalo, New York