The effects of underground mining and mine collapse on areal hydrology were determined at one site where the mined bed of coal lies above major streams and at two sites where the bed of coal lies below major streams. Subsidence cracks observed at land surface generally run parallel to predominant joint sets in the rocks. The mining and subsidence cracks increase hydraulic conductivity and interconnection of water-bearing rock units, which in turn cause increased infiltration of precipitation and surface water, decreased evapotranspiration, and higher base flows in some small streams. Water levels in observation wells in mined areas fluctuate as much as 100 ft annually. Both gaining and losing streams are found in mined areas. Mine pumpage and drainage can cause diversion of water underground from one basin to another. Areal and single-well aquifer tests indicated that near-surface rocks have higher transmissivity in a mine-subsided basin than in unmined basins. Increased infiltration and circulation through shallow subsurface rocks increase dissolved mineral loads in streams, as do treated and untreated contributions from mine pumpage and drainage. Abandoned and flooded underground mines make good reservoirs because of their increased transmissivity and storage. Subsidence cracks were not detectable by thermal imagery, but springs and seeps were detectable.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Effects of underground mining and mine collapse on the hydrology of selected basins in West Virginia
Water Supply Paper
U.S. G.P.O. ;
U.S. Geological Survey, Map Distribution,
iv, 79 p. :ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ;28 cm.