Delineation and Environmental Geologic Evaluation of Abandoned Coal Mines in North Central Texas

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Finley, Robert J.
Caran, S. Christopher
Hupp, William H.

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An environmental geologic survey of abandoned bituminous coal mines in North-Central Texas located 140 confirmed and probable mines in 12 counties. Previously, 67 mines were known, although some locations were found to be inaccurate. Present surface conditions at the mine sites have been evaluated relative to the need for possible reclamation. Based on the oldest available (and more recent) 1:20,000 to 1:40,000 scale aerial photography, low-altitude aerial observation, and ground confirmation, mining and subsequent mine abandonment have resulted in five major effects. These are: Devegetation, in part due to leachates from mine spoil. Erosion by gullying, sheetwash, and mass wasting. Increased sedimentation in tanks and streams. Ground surface subsidence. Accumulation of mine spoil, deteriorated equipment, and other refuse. The coals, mined from the 1850s to the 1940s, are in the middle and late Pennsylvanian Strawn, Canyon, and Cisco Groups. Mining was primarily underground by a modified longwall advancing method. A total of 585 acres has been affected by mining, with 142 acres in Young County (13 confirmed mines), 94 acres in Palo Pinto County (16 confirmed mines), and 45 acres in Wise County (15 confirmed mines). The greatest surface effects are evident near Thurber in Erath County and at Strawn in Palo Pinto County, where extensive spoil piles are present. Near Bridgeport in Wise County, shale in the spoil piles has been used in brick-making. Presently there is renewed interest in these bituminous coal resources, and exploration is active.


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