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Kansas Geological Survey, Current Research in Earth Sciences, Bulletin 240, part 4
Chert Gravel and Neogene Drainage in East-central Kansas--page 2 of 16
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Kansas coal has been an important contributor to the heat and power generation required by the developing Kansas economy. Commercial production of coal in Kansas started in the 1850's with the first shallow mines near Fort Leavenworth in Leavenworth County (Schoewe, 1958, p. 369-371). Subsequent development of coal mines in eastern Kansas has resulted in total historic bituminous coal production of slightly over 300 million tons through 1996. Most of this production was from the Weir-Pittsburg coal bed that was deep-mined in Cherokee and Crawford counties. Kansas coal production was highest in 1917 and 1918 when approximately 7.25 million tons were produced annually. Since those early days, coal production has declined to a low of 232 thousand tons in 1996 (based on production figures from the Mining Section, Kansas Department of Health and Environment). Kansas coal production reached 2.02 million tons in 1987 for a recent high, but production declines since that time are due mainly to recent Environmental Protection Agency standards for SO2 emissions and the subsequent import of Wyoming coal into Kansas.

The U.S. Geological Survey, with cooperation from state governments and industry, has made characterization of the chemical composition of coal a significant part of the assessment of the nation's coal resources. The Kansas Geological Survey contributed to this program by collecting 36 samples of Middle and Upper Pennsylvanian coals between 1974 and 1977 from Franklin, Wilson, Bourbon, Crawford, and Cherokee counties. These samples are representative of nine Kansas coal beds that are presently mined or were mined in the recent past (table 1). Thirty-one of these samples were collected from active mines, one from a construction excavation, and four samples are from mine tipples after coal cleaning. The information from the chemical and physical tests helps to characterize the most important coal beds with significant reserves remaining in the state.

Table 1. Location and identification of coal samples.

CountyLocationBedBed thickness
Sample type
D176058FranklinNW sec 30, T18S, R18EU. Williamsburg12Grab (5 in. thick)
D176055WilsonSW sec 21, T29S, R17EThayer10Channel (upper bed)
D176056WilsonSW sec 21, T29S, R17EThayer11Channel (upper bed)
D176057WilsonSW sec 21, T29S, R17EThayer5Channel (lower bed)
D189091BourbonSE sec 26, T26S, R25EMulky14Channel (lower bed)
D189704BourbonSE sec 26, T26S, R25EMulky14Channel (lower bed)
D189705BourbonSE sec 26, T26S, R25EMulky14Channel (lower bed)
D196196BourbonNW sec 28, T26S, R25EMulky14Channel (lower bed)
D196197BourbonNW sec 28, T26S, R25EMulky13Channel (lower bed)
D196198CrawfordSE sec 2, T31S, R22EBevier18Channel (lower bed)
D196199CrawfordSE sec 2, T31S, R22EBevier13Channel (lower bed)
D183114BourbonSW sec 25, T26S, R25ECroweburg14Channel (lower bed)
D183115CrawfordNE sec 16, T28S, R25ECroweburg14Channel (lower bed)
D176045CrawfordSW sec 5, T28S, R25ECroweburg12Channel (lower bed)
D176046CrawfordSW sec 5, T28S, R25ECroweburg13Channel (lower bed)
D176047CrawfordSW sec 5, T28S, R25ECroweburg11Channel (lower bed)
D183120CrawfordNE sec 16, T28S, R25ECroweburg--Tipple
D183112BourbonSW sec 25, T26S, R25EMineral16Channel
D183113BourbonSW sec 25, T26S, R25EMineral15Channel
D176048CrawfordNW sec 15, T28S, R25EMineral17Channel
D176049CrawfordNW sec 15, T28S, R25EMineral17Channel
D183116CrawfordNE sec 16, T28S, R25EMineral16Channel
D183119CrawfordNE sec 16, T28S, R25EMineral--Tipple
D180072CrawfordSE sec 10, T31S, R25EDry Wood12Channel
D180074CrawfordSW sec 11, T31S, R25EDry Wood12Channel
D183118Crawfordsec 10-11, T31S, R25EDry Wood--Tipple
D176050CrawfordNE sec 10, T31S, R25ERowe18Channel
D176051CrawfordNE sec 10, T31S, R25ERowe18Channel
D176052CrawfordNE sec 10, T31S, R25ERowe20Channel
D180069CrawfordSE sec 10, T31S, R25ERowe18Channel
D180071CrawfordSE sec 10, T31S, R25ERowe17Channel
D180073CrawfordSE sec 11, T31S, R25ERowe16Channel
D183117Crawfordsec 10-11, T31S, R25ERowe--Tipple
D189706CherokeeNW sec 18, T32S, R25ERowe12Channel
D176053CherokeeNW sec 20, T32S, R25EUnnamed14Channel
D176054CherokeeNW sec 20, T32S, R25EUnnamed14Channel

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Kansas Geological Survey
Web version March 18, 1998