Evaluation of airborne geophysical surveys for large-scale mapping of contaminated mine pools: draft final report

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Decades of underground coal mining has left about 5,000 square miles of abandoned mine workings that are rapidly filling with water. The water quality of mine pools is often poor; environmental regulatory agencies are concerned because water from mine pools could contaminate diminishing surface and groundwater supplies. Mine pools are also a threat to the safety of current mining operations. Conversely, mine pools are a large, untapped water resource that, with treatment, could be used for a variety of industrial purposes. Others have proposed using mine pools in conjunction with heat pumps as a source of heating and cooling for ... continued below

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20 p.

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Geosciences Division, National Energy Technology Laboratory, US Department of Energy, Pittsburgh, PA & Hammack, R. W. December 28, 2006.

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Description

Decades of underground coal mining has left about 5,000 square miles of abandoned mine workings that are rapidly filling with water. The water quality of mine pools is often poor; environmental regulatory agencies are concerned because water from mine pools could contaminate diminishing surface and groundwater supplies. Mine pools are also a threat to the safety of current mining operations. Conversely, mine pools are a large, untapped water resource that, with treatment, could be used for a variety of industrial purposes. Others have proposed using mine pools in conjunction with heat pumps as a source of heating and cooling for large industrial facilities. The management or use of mine pool water requires accurate maps of mine pools. West Virginia University has predicted the likely location and volume of mine pools in the Pittsburgh Coalbed using existing mine maps, structure contour maps, and measured mine pool elevations. Unfortunately, mine maps only reflect conditions at the time of mining, are not available for all mines, and do not always denote the maximum extent of mining. Since 1999, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has been evaluating helicopter-borne, electromagnetic sensing technologies for the detection and mapping of mine pools. Frequency domain electromagnetic sensors are able to detect shallow mine pools (depth < 50 m) if there is sufficient contrast between the conductance of the mine pool and the conductance of the overburden. The mine pools (conductors) most confidently detected by this technology are overlain by thick, resistive sandstone layers. In 2003, a helicopter time domain electromagnetic sensor was applied to mined areas in southwestern Virginia in an attempt to increase the depth of mine pool detection. This study failed because the mine pool targets were thin and not very conductive. Also, large areas of the surveys were degraded or made unusable by excessive amounts of cultural electromagnetic noise that obscured the subtle mine pool anomalies. However, post-survey modeling suggested that thicker, more conductive mine pools might be detected at a more suitable location. The current study sought to identify the best time domain electromagnetic sensor for detecting mine pools and to test it in an area where the mine pools are thicker and more conductive that those in southwestern Virginia. After a careful comparison of all airborne time domain electromagnetic sensors (including both helicopter and fixed-wing systems), the SkyTEM system from Denmark was determined to be the best technology for this application. Whereas most airborne time domain electromagnetic systems were developed to find large, deep, highly conductive mineral deposits, the SkyTEM system is designed for groundwater exploration studies, an application similar to mine pool detection.

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20 p.

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  • Report No.: DOE/NETL-IR-2007-116
  • Report No.: NETL-TPR-1629
  • Grant Number: None cited
  • DOI: 10.2172/938586 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 938586
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc895782

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • December 28, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • April 4, 2017, 1:35 p.m.

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Geosciences Division, National Energy Technology Laboratory, US Department of Energy, Pittsburgh, PA & Hammack, R. W. Evaluation of airborne geophysical surveys for large-scale mapping of contaminated mine pools: draft final report, report, December 28, 2006; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc895782/: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.