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Coal Resource Classification System of the U.S. Geological Survey

By Gordon H. Wood, Jr., Thomas M. Kehn, M. Devereux Carter, and William C. Culbertson



This circular was prepared for two audiences: (1) coal resource specialists, coal geologists, and coal-mining engineers; and (2) the public, Congress, and many State and Federal agencies who desire more than a casual knowledge about the need for and procedures of coal resource classification. The definitions, criteria, guidelines, and illustrations are designed to aid coal geologists and engineers in preparing their reports by providing guidance in calculating, categorizing, and describing the coal resources/reserve base/reserves they are evaluating. The description of geophysical log usage also should provide aid in obtaining and using subsurface information on the areal extent, thickness, and correlation of coal beds and should open up a vast and generally untapped data source for most coal geologists. Adherence to the categories of resource assignment, to the definitions, and to the criteria can result in more accurate, precise, explicit, and consistent reports. The classification system and terminology described in this circular are equally applicable to hand and computer system determinations of resources and reserves. The illustrations are applicable to manual methods of coal resource/reserve base/reserve tonnage estimations. Computer programs have been designed that will yield similar tonnage estimates of coal resources. Those wishing to inquire about the computer software and methodologies should write to Linda Bragg, 956 National Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia 20192.


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