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A New Coal Map of Wyoming

Jones, Richard W.1; Jones, Nick R.1; Scott, Justin E.1
1 Wyoming State Geological Survey, Laramie, WY.

The Wyoming State Geological Survey recently published a new map of Wyoming’s coal fields and coal deposits. The 1:500,000-scale, wall-sized map updates and revises statewide information last published in 1991; it will be available for the first time in digital form as well as in traditional hard copy. The map shows the state’s principal coal-bearing units (formations) in a detailed stratigraphic chart and depicts map units in six different colors according to the approximate age of each rock series: Lower Cretaceous, three subdivisions of the Upper Cretaceous, Paleocene, and Eocene. Outcrops of these coal-bearing rocks determine the extent and boundaries of Wyoming’s ten coal fields; historical and current coal mining districts are also shown for the first time. Known coal bed outcrops appear as thin red lines on the map. Historical underground and surface coal mines and prospects are located along with the extent of underground mining or mined-out area boundaries.

The map shows permit areas for active coal mines and mined out/reclaimed parts of the permit areas. Wyoming’s 18 surface mines and one underground mine produced 453.6 million short tons of coal in 2007, almost 40 percent of the total U.S. production. Most production was from 13 large surface mines in the Powder River Coal Field, which produced approximately 436.5 million short tons of low-sulfur subbituminous coal in 2007.

Wyoming coal is used mostly as fuel for steam-electric generating plants in 39 states. The new map shows the seven coal-fired generating plants in Wyoming and includes locations of waste-coal generating plants, cogeneration plants and others that generate electricity from coal and various fuels, hydroelectric plants, and wind-generating projects. The map shows the railroad system in Wyoming and the unit-train routes used to move coal within and out of the state. Routes of the major electrical transmission lines in Wyoming and their rated capacities are also shown. The new map includes locations of the current and proposed industrial facilities in Wyoming that use coal, projects to upgrade or enhance coal, coal gasification projects, and coal-to-liquids projects.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009