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A quantity of methane approximately equal to the state's production of natural gas escapes to the air from West Virginia coal mines. It is very important that a technology of production of this gas be developed.
Natural coal gas occurs sorbed in the coal except where there are feeders, squeezes and drainage belts due to mining operations. The gas consists of 90 per cent methane, most of the remainder being nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
Methane was produced by biochemical processes during coal formation. In some instances, a considerable quantity of methane is now being formed by bacterial action in mine waters.
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