In order to provide uniformity in the classification of coal lands in the public domain, certain standards have been prepared from time to time by the U.S. Geological Survey. The controlling factors are the depth, quality, and thickness of the coal beds. The first regulations were issued April 8, 1907; others followed in 1908, 1909, and 1913. Except for minor changes in 1959, the regulations of 1913, which were described in U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 537, have been the guiding principles for coal-land classification. Changes made herein from the standards previously used are: (1) a maximum depth of 6,000 feet instead of 5,000 feet, (2) a maximum depth of 1,000 feet instead of 500 feet for coals of minimum thickness, (3) use of Btu (British thermal unit) values for as-received foal instead of air-dried, and (4) a minimum Btu value of 4,000 for as-received coal instead of 8,000 for air-dried. An additional modification is that the maximum thickness of 8 feet which was designated in the Classification Chart for Coal Lands in 1959 is changed to 6 feet. The effect of these changes will be the classification of a greater amount of the withdrawn land as coal land than was done under earlier regulations.
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USGS Numbered Series
Standards for the classification of public coal lands