The Eastern Coal Province is divided into 24 separate hydrologic reporting areas. The division is based on hydrologic factors, location, size, and mining activity. Hydrologic units (drainage basins) or parts of units are combined to form each area. Area 23 is located at the southern end of the Eastern Coal Province, in the Mobile River basin, includes the Warrior, Cahaba, and edges of the Plateau coal fields in Alabama, and covers an area of 4,716 square miles. It is underlain by the Coker and Pottsville Formations and the pre-Pennsylvanian rocks. The Pottsville Formation contains coal beds and is overlain by the Coker Formation in the western and southern parts of the area. The pre-Pennsylvanian rocks crop out in two northeast-southwest trending belts or ridges along and near the eastern boundary where folding and faulting is common. The outcrop of rocks along the western ridge forms the divide between the Warrior and the Cahaba coal fields. Hydrologic problems relating to surface mining are (1) erosion and sedimentation, (2) decline in ground-water levels, and (3) degradation of water quality. Average annual sediment yields can increase by four magnitudes in surface mined areas from 20 tons per square mile per year from areas not affected by mining to 300,000 tons per square mile per year from mined areas. Sediment yields increase drastically when vegetation is removed from the highly erosive soils and from unregulated surface mining operations. Decline in ground-water levels can occur in and near surface-mining areas when excavation extends below the static water level in the aquifer. (USGS)
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrologic assessment, Eastern Coal Province Area 23, Alabama
U.S. Geological Survey,
97 p. (some folded) :ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ;28 cm.