Coal in the Front Range Urban Corridor – An Overview of Coal Geology, Coal Production, and Coal-Bed Methane Potential

Laramie Formation Coal Geology – North of the Greeley Arch .. …… pertaining to the stratigraphy and coal geology of the Laramie …

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Coal in the Front Range Urban Corridor – An Overview of Coal Geology, Coal Production, and Coal-Bed Methane Potential in Selected Areas of the Denver Basin, Colorado, and the Potential Effects of Historical Coal Mining on Development and Land-Use Planning

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Denver Basin Coal Geology
    • Laramie Formation
      • Laramie Formation Coal Geology-North of the Greeley Arch
      • Laramie Formation Coal Geology-South of the Greeley Arch
      • Laramie formation Coal Production
    • Denver Formation
      • Denver Formation Coal Geology
      • Denver Formation Coal Production
  • Coal-Bed Methand Potential
    • Greater Wattenberg Area: Coal-Bed Methane Pilot Study
    • Coal-Bed Methan Summary
  • Effects from Historical Coal Mining
    • Coal-Mine Fires
    • Coal-Mine Subsidence
    • Subsidence Prediction
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
  • Figures
    • Figure1. Approximate extent of the Denver Basin and bounding structural features, and the location and extent of the greater Wattenberg area (GWA), Colorado.
    • Figure 2. Generalized Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary stratigraphy for different areas in the Denver Basin, Colorado. Modified from Kirkham and Ladwig (1979, 1980) and Nichols (1999).
    • Figure 3. Maps and diagrams showing (A) paleogeography during Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) time, and (B) progradational setting of Upper Cretaceous rocks in the Pierre Shale, Fox Hills Sandstone, and Laramie Formation in the Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 4. Approximate extent of coal-bearing rocks in the Laramie Formation in areas north and south of the Greeley arch, Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 5. Areas of historical coal production from the Laramie Formation and the dates of mining activity, number of coal mines, coal-bed thickness ranges, and heat-of-combustion values in each mining area, Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 6. Total coal production from the Laramie Formation in areas of historical coal mining, Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 7. Generalized stratigraphic column showing lithology, inferred sedimentary structures, and coal-bed distribution and nomenclature in the Laramie Formation (Upper Cretaceous), Boulder-Weld coal field, Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 8. Generalized stratigraphic column showing lithology, and coal-bed distribution and nomenclature in the Laramie Formation (Upper Cretaceous), Colorado Springs coal field, Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 9. Basic components and configuration of a room-and-pillar coal mine. Diagram modified from Dames and Moore (1985).
    • Figure 10. Interpreted paleogeography during the early Tertiary (Paleocene) in the Rocky Mountain region. Modified from Flores and others (1997).
    • Figure 11. West-east cross section AA showing the distribution of synorogenic deposits in the unconformity-bounded D1 and D2 sequences, Denver Basin, Colorado. Location of cross section is shown in figure 1.
    • Figure 12. Areas of historical coal production from the Denver Formation and the dates of mining activity, number of coal mines, coal-bed thickness ranges, and heat-of-combustion values in each mining area, Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 13. Total coal production from the Denver Formation in areas of historical coal mining, Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 14. Generalized stratigraphic columns showing coal (lignite) beds and associated lithologies in the Denver Formation in the northern and southern lignite areas, Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 15. Photographs showing (A) truck-mounted drilling rig exploring for coal-bed methane, and (B) a completed coal-bed methane wellhead in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming.
    • Figure 16. Drill holes in which coal beds were sampled and desorbed for coal-bed methane content in the Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 17. xtent of the greater Wattenberg area, Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 18. Locations of gassy coal mines, or coal mines that experienced fires or gas explosions, and the locations of drill holes in which Laramie Formation coal beds were analyzed for total gas content in the northern part of the Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 19. Total coal thickness in drill holes penetrating the lower part of the Laramie Formation in the northern part of the Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 20. Heat-of-combustion values for coal beds in the lower part of the Laramie Formation in the northern part of the Denver Basin, Colorado.
    • Figure 21. Photograph of an active fire in an abandoned underground coal mine near Sheridan, Wyoming.
    • Figure 22. Extent of abandoned underground coal mines, the location of a 198283 cooperative U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Office of Surface Mining (OSM) coal-mine fire study site, and the location of historical underground coal-mine fires near the town of Marshall, Colorado.
    • Figure 23. Oblique aerial photograph (looking northwest) showing surface subsidence features caused by the collapse of underground coal mines near the town of Marshall, Colorado, in 1973.
    • Figure 24. Oblique aerial photograph (looking south) showing surface subsidence features caused by the collapse of underground coal mines along the Cherry Vale Road, near the town of Marshall, Colorado, in 1973.
    • Figure 25. Diagram showing the process and results of roof and overburden collapse (chimney subsidence) into an abandoned room of an underground coal mine.
    • Figure 26. Photograph showing surface subsidence pit and associated void that has migrated upward above an abandoned underground coal mine near Sheridan, Wyoming.
    • Figure 27. Diagram depicting the chimney subsidence process and its potential effects on the ground surface. Overburden collapse and upward void migration above an abandoned room in an underground coal mine has resulted in the development of a subsidence pit (sinkhole) on the ground surface.
    • Figure 28. Diagram depicting the process and potential ground-surface effects of trough subsidence.
    • Figure 29. Schematic diagram summarizing ground-surface collapse (subsidence) resulting from mine roof and pillar collapse and from pillar punching in abandoned underground coal mines.
  • Plate 1. Cross sections showing generalized stratigraphy, depositional setting, and coal beds in the lower part of the Laramie Formation, greater Wattenberg area, northern Denver Basin, Colorado.
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