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Coal Coal Resources & Reserves Coal Production & Mining Coal Geology Coal History Coal Maps & Projects Powder River Basin

Coal Diagrams, Data, Maps & Projects


Coal is found in many parts of Wyoming at outcrops and in the subsurface. Coal production takes place where economic, geologic, political, and environmental factors allow for mining operations. Most of the coal produced in Wyoming is transported out of state for consumers. This page contains links to maps, Google Earth files, GIS datasets, and WSGS publications describing the locations of coal resources and mining activity in Wyoming.

Summary Report

Wyomings Coal Resources
Download the 2015 Wyoming's Coal Resources Summary Report.


Maps

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Coal Map of Wyoming
Download the 2011 WSGS Coal Map of Wyoming.

WY Coal MinesWyoming Active Coal Mining Map
View Wyoming coal mines, power plants, and coal resources in Google Earth.

View or Purchase
The Coal Map of Wyoming and other WSGS coal publications can be viewed or purchased online.

1951 USGS Map 1951 USGS Coal Fields Map
Download the USGS 1951 Coal Fields Map of Wyoming.


Data

GIS Data
Downloadable GIS coal and coalbed methane datasets available from WSGS.

Demonstrated Reserve Base
Download an Excel file containing state rankings and the demonstrated coal reserve base estimated in 1973.

Wyoming Coal Stats Current Wyoming Coal Mine Statistics

Wyoming Coal Stats Quarterly Coal Mine Production

Coal Mining Diagrams

Surface Mine Surface mining
Surface mining
Download a diagram showing surface mining methods used by coal mines today. Illustration by James Rodgers.



Underground Mine Underground mining
Underground mining
Download a diagram showing underground coal mining showing a long wall operation. Illustration by James Rodgers.

Greater Green River Basin Project

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The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) is conducting a resource exploration project in the eastern part of the Greater Green River Basin. Like many basins throughout the world, the Greater Green River Basin (GGRB) has been an active source of petroleum for decades. Companies have maintained a continued interest in the area and thousands of wells have been drilled to find oil and gas in the subsurface. Apart from a few active mine, coal, uranium, and other natural resources have been mostly ignored during these production efforts. The Paleocene Fort Union Formation contains more than 10 coal beds of significant continuity. This is the main research focus in 2014. The Wasatch Formation contains uraniferous coals in this area. The goal of the agency’s current research is to investigate the occurrence of coal and uranium to develop resource assessments and locate potential mining prospects for the future. Using all available resources, including the National Coal Resource Data System (NCRDS), well logs from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission, and cores from the core repository of the U.S. Geological Survey, WSGS geologists will document the presence of coal in the GGRB and provide the data to the public via the NCRDS on the WSGS website

The GGRB is a large foreland basin that along with the other prominent basins of Wyoming was formed during the Laramide orogeny, approximately 65-55 million years ago. The GGRB is subdivided into smaller basins, all separated by smaller Laramide structures: Hoback Basin, Green River Basin, Fossil Basin, Washakie Basin, and the Great Divide Basin, which is the focus of WSGS’ current research efforts (Fig. 1). The Great Divide Basin (GDB) is bounded to the east by the Rawlins uplift, north of Rawlins, the Granite Mountains to the north, the Wamsutter Arch to the south, and the Rock Springs uplift to the west. These bounding features are large chunks of granitic basement rock that uplifted the younger sedimentary bedrock, forming the high mountain peaks scattered throughout Wyoming today. Between these peaks are large depressional areas, or basins that buckle down under the pressure of mountain building to create a large bowl-like feature for sediment accumulation.

The sedimentation story of the GDB is complex and encompasses a geologic history that has provided Wyoming with the largest coal resource in the nation, and possibly the world. Approximately 60 million years ago – a few million years after dinosaurs no longer roamed the Earth – Wyoming was covered in a vast featureless, swampy plains system, landward of the Western Interior Seaway of the Cretaceous period, which resided to the east. This depositional system produced what is considered by many as the most famous and profitable formation of Wyoming, the Fort Union Formation. Large swamp deposits created vast layers of thick coal seams that yield production of 400 million tons of coal per year in the Powder River Basin alone. The GDB area also contains the Fort Union Formation, and the WSGS is exploring for its potential coal resources. High peaks surround the basin, but the answer lies beneath the surface of the earth, where much of the coal is located at depths between 0 and 5,000 feet. The Laramide Orogeny pushed the Fort Union coals down to 3 miles in places, and was subsequently buried beneath thousands of feet of younger sediment sourced from gravity and fluvially deposited mountain debris, as well as lake deposits from the massive Lake Gosiute which took advantage of the large depressional space. The shallow outcrop coals on the west side of the Great Divide Basin are being mined at the Bridger and Black Butte coal mines. The majority of the deep Fort Union coals are technologically not feasible to mine under present conditions, but documenting the surface outcrop occurrence is an important guide to assessing the mineable coal and including that resource in the total amount of Wyoming’s coal resources.

NCRDS Coal Stratigraphic Database

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The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) is a cooperative state agency with the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Energy Resources Program. This program includes the National Coal Resource Data System (NCRDS), which represents a joint coal project between the USGS and state geological surveys for states with coal-bearing stratigraphy. For more than 30 years the WSGS has collected coal stratigraphic data from the 10 coal fields in Wyoming. This national project involves the collection of stratigraphic coal resource information from coal exploration drill holes, coalbed methane wells, and measured sections at coal outcrops. Much of this data comes from historical coal mine information, geologic publications, and contributions from coal companies with active mining operations throughout Wyoming. This data includes coal location, thickness, elevation and depth, stratigraphic position, and interbedded lithologic data.

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WSGS has developed the NCRDS Coal Stratigraphic Database to provide information on the location and stratigraphic intervals of a total of 24,554 public point-source coal data points with over 362,311 individual stratigraphic intercepts. Most of the data is located in the Powder River Basin from 14,000 coalbed methane wells. The WSGS is also developing an interactive mapping application for its coal database. The interactive map will feature the locations of the state’s 10 coal fields along with a total of 63 NCRDS data points of coal deposit greater than 150 feet thick. The map will also include a layer showing the locations of historical coal mines as well as ones with active mine permits. Users will also be able to downloadable geographic information system (GIS) data sets and to view the coal data in Google Earth with 3D visualizations of the coal fields and regions. The use and access of these data are critical for regional coal resource evaluations of Wyoming’s basins and can be used by members of the public, industry, and state and federal government regulators and officials.

Click here for additional resources list

Consensus Revenue Estimating Group
http://eadiv.state.wy.us/creg/

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality
http://deq.wyoming.gov/

Wyoming Mining Association
http://www.wyomingmining.org/

Wyoming Mines Inspection and Safety
http://www.wyomingworkforce.org/workers/mines/

U.S. Energy Information Administration
http://www.eia.gov/

U.S. Geological Survey
http://www.usgs.gov/

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
http://www.osmre.gov/

Mineral Information Institute
http://www.mineralseducationcoalition.org/

U.S. Bureau of Land Management
http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en.html

University of Wyoming, School of Energy Resources
http://www.uwyo.edu/ser/




Contact:
Chris Carroll (307) 766-2286 Ext. 243