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Nine commercially important coal beds are present in the northern part of the shelf area of northeastern Oklahoma. Included in the area are parts of Craig, Mayes, Nowata, and Rogers Counties. The coal beds are of Desmoinesian (Middle Pennsylvanian) age. From oldest (lowest) to youngest (highest) they are: Rowe coal, Drywood coal, Bluejacket coal, Weir-Pittsburg coal, Mineral coal, Fleming coal, Croweburg coal, Iron Post coal, and Dawson coal.
Tonnages of resources and reserves were estimated for coal beds 10 in. (25 cm) or more in thickness for depths to 100 ft (30 m), and for coal beds 14 in. (35 cm) or more in thickness for depths greater than 100 ft (30 m). Methods used to calculate figures were adaptations of standard methods used by the U. S. Bureau of Mines and the U. S. Geological Survey. Remaining resources of coal for the four-county area total 1,063,466,000 short tons, of which 110,584,000 short tons are in the reserves category. In the entire four-county area the coal bed with the most remaining resources and reserves is the Weir-Pittsburg, with 490,869,000 short tons, and 31,055,000 short tons, respectively.
Coals of the area are predominantly of high volatile A-bituminous (hvAb) rank. Coal from the Croweburg bed has the highest overall quality and has an average sulfur content of less than 1%. Other coals in the study area have sulfur percentages averaging above 3.5%.
All coal produced in the four-county area during the time of the study was mined by surface methods. Production of coal peaked in the late 1970s, with 3,666,645 short tons reported mined in 1977, and 3,462,816 short tons reported mined in 1978. Rising production costs, a depressed market, and environmental restrictions have contributed to a decline in production in recent years.
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