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Reflection seismic methods have been used with great success in the exploration for oil and gas for over 40 years. Recently, "oil-country seismics" have been adapted to the coal mining industry. In the United States, the method is little used because it is a relatively new application of seismic exploration, and because little has been written explaining the method, how it works, and what it can achieve. Mining engineers, geologists, and management are concerned with where the coal is located stratigraphically, its thickness, the depth and structure of the seam, the presence and attitude of faults, washouts, seam splits, or burn areas. Unless geologic parameters are unusually adverse, high-resolution reflection seismic methods will extrapolate core-hole information when c re-hole costs are high, and can reduce the number of core holes necessary by as much as 50%. Where overburden is thick it can locate new core holes to provide maximum information. Where faulting is present it can determine strike and hade. Further, it may locate washouts and seam splits depending on depth and associated geologic conditions. The high-resolution reflection seismic method will provide an improved picture of the geology ahead of the coal face for the mine planners, thereby maximizing production and profit.
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