Kansas has large amounts of bituminous coal both at the surface and in the subsurface of eastern Kansas. Preliminary studies indicate at least 53 billion tons (48 billion MT) of deep coal [>100 ft (>30 m)] determined from 32 different coal beds. Strippable coal resources at a depth < 100 ft (<30 m) total 2.8 billion tons (2.6 billion MT), and this total is determined from 17 coals. Coal beds present in the Cherokee Group (Middle Pennsylvanian) represent most of these coal resource totals. Deep coal beds with the largest resource totals include the Bevier, Mineral, "Aw" (unnamed coal bed), Riverton, and Weir-Pittsburg coals, all within the Cherokee Group. Based on chemical analyses, coals in the southeastern part of the state are generally high volatile A bituminous, whereas coals in the east-central and northeastern part of the state are high-volatile B bituminous coals. The primary concern of coal beds in Kansas for deep mining or development of coalbed methane is the thin nature [<2 ft (0.6 m)] of most coal beds. Present production of coalbed methane is centered mainly in the southern Wilson/northern Montgomery County area of southeastern Kansas where methane is produced from the Mulky, Weir-Pittsburg, and Riverton coals.
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Kansas coal distribution, resources, and potential for coalbed methane
The Compass: Earth Science Journal of Sigma Gamma Epsilon