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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 64 (1980)

Issue: 8. (August)

First Page: 1286

Last Page: 1286

Title: Geology and Mining of Tennessee Coal: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Larry M. Knox, William J. Wade

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The coal deposits of Tennessee occur in Pennsylvanian strata on the Cumberland Plateau. The southern half of the plateau contains Lower Pennsylvanian strata which are thick, massive sandstones and thin shales. The northern half consists of Lower and Middle Pennsylvanian strata. Relatively thick shales and thin sandstones comprise the Middle Pennsylvanian section. Most of Tennessee's present coal production comes from the northern Cumberland Plateau.

The first recorded production of coal in Tennessee was in 1814. Significant production did not begin until the expansion of the railroads which occurred around 1850. Except for a lapse in production because of the War Between the States, production increased steadily until 1900. Although production has fluctuated, Tennessee has produced approximately 9 million tons per year since that time.

Today there are over 300 operating mines in Tennessee. Of these, about 60% are surface mines. The average production of surface mines in Tennessee is about 6,500 tons per month. Underground mines average about 4,500 tons per month. All of the coal produced in Tennessee is bituminous and is used largely in steam-powered electric plants.

There are several experimental uses of coal being studied in Tennessee. These include synthetic fuel plants, magneto-hydro-dynamics plants, atmospheric fluidized-bed combustion plants, and coal gasification plants. The development of any of these processes could significantly affect coal production in Tennessee.

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