Coal Research, Publications, and Maps at KGS

Franek Hasiuk, PhD
Stephan Oborny, PhD (

Coal has been produced in Kansas for over 150 years, but coal production peaked in 1917-18. Total coal production has been ~300 million short tons. Mining has occurred both as surface strip mines as well as underground mines up to 700 ft deep.

While coal mining in Kansas is now periodic, the Kansas Geological Survey maintains an archive of this activity as a service to the State of Kansas to assist in locating former mining areas (which can be useful when land undergoes use changes) and evaluating prospects for future production, such as production for critical minerals and rare earth elements useful in high-tech manufacturing and specialty chemical feedstocks.

Methane production from deeper, unmined coal beds (known as "Coalbed Methane" or "CBM") continues to be a significant part natural gas production in the part of Eastern Kansas west of the surface and underground mining activities.

Publications useful for identifying formerly mined areas in Kansas:

Abernathy, G.E., 1944. Mined Areas of the Weir-Pittsburg Coal Bed. Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 52, part 5, pp. 213-228.

  • Maps of surface and underground coal mines in southeast Kansas. This map shows areal extent of mined lands.

Abernathy, G.E., 1946. Strip-Mined Areas in the Southeastern Kansas Coal Field. Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 64, part 4, pg. 130-144.

  • Map plate available (pdf). Digitization of text in progress.
  • Maps of surface and underground coal mines in southeast Kansas. This map shows areal extent of mined lands

Brady, L.L., Nuelle, L.M., Haug, D.B., Smith, D.C., Bostic, J.L., and Jacquess, J.C., 1994. Coal resources of the Joplin 1°x 2° quadrangle, Kansas and Missouri. 1:250,000. USGS Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map I-2426-A.

  • Maps of surface and underground coal mines locations in southeast Kansas (Cherokee, Neosho, Wilson, Labette, Montgomery, Crawford, Bourbon counties)

On-Line Map of Mines in the US, National Mine Map Repository, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (U.S. Department of the Interior)

  • Maps of all mine locations in the US, exclusive of non-construction materials mines (like sand pits, crushed rock quarries and mines). Mines only appear when you have zoomed in to the county-scale.

Geologic Maps of Counties with Historical Coal Production:

Bourbon County (West et al., 2020)

Cherokee County (Bennison, 2002)

Crawford County (West et al., 2008)

Labette County (Bennison, 1998)

Other Studies:

Reports from the KGS Coalbed Methane Project

Tedesco, S.A., 2014. Reservoir characterization and geology of the coals and carbonaceous shales of the Cherokee Group in the Cherokee Basin, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, U.S.A: Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Colorado School of Mines, 2201 p.

Peppers, R.A., Brady, L.L., 2007. Palynological correlation of Atokan and lower Desmoinesian (Pennsylvanian) strata between the Illinois Basin and the Forest City Basin in eastern Kansas. Midcontinent Geoscience, pp.1-21.

Brady, L.L., Newell, K.D.N., 2005. 29th Forum of the Coal Geologists of the Western Interior Coal Region, Field Trip. Kansas Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-31.

Johnson, T. A., 2004. Stratigraphy, Depositional Environments, and Coalbed Gas Potential of Middle Pennsylvanian (Desmoinesian Stage) Coals—Bourbon Arch Region, Eastern Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2004-38, 247 p.

Brown, W. M., 2003. Stratigraphy, Depositional Environments, and Coal-Bed Natural Gas Resources, Cherokee and Marmaton Groups (Atokan-Desmoinesian, Middle Pennsylvanian), Northeastern Kansas. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University of Kansas, 278 p.

Lange, J.P., 2003. Stratigraphy, Depositional Environments and Coalbed Methane Resources of Cherokee Group Coals (Middle Pennsylvanian)—Southeastern Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey Open-file Report 2003-82.

Brady, L.L., 1994. Mining History in Kansas. Interstate Technical Group on Abandoned Underground Mines Third Biennial Workshop.

Welch, J.E. and Hambleton, W.H., 1982. Environmental Effects of Coal Surface Mining and Reclamation on Land and Water in Southeastern Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey Mineral Resources Series 7.

Brady, L.L., Adams, D.B., Livingston, N.D., 1976. An Evaluation of the Strippable Coal Reserves in Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey, Mineral Resources Series 5.

Flueckinger L.A., Brady, L.L., 1973. Coal in Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 1973-5.

Schoewe, W. H., 1959. Economic Geography; Mineral Resources, pt. 4, of the Geography of Kansas, Kansas Academy of Science Transactions, v. 61, no. 4, 1959, p. 359-468.

Hambleton, W.H., 1953. Petrographic Study of Southeastern Kansas Coals. Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 102, Part 1.

Abernathy G.E.A., Jewett, J. M., Schoewe, W. H., 1947. Coal Reserves in Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 70, Part 1.

Pierce, W.G. and Courtier, W.H., 1938. Geology and Coal Resources of the Southeastern Kansas Coal Field: In Crawford, Cherokee and Labette Counties.Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 24.

Studies by Stratigraphic Interval:


Schoewe, W. H., 1952. Coal Resources of the Cretaceous System (Dakota Formation) in Central Kansas. State Geological Survey of Kansas Bulletin 96, Part 2, 1952, p. 69-156.


Schoewe, W.H., 1951. Coal resources of the Permian System in Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 90, part 3.




Schoewe, W.H., 1946. Coal resources of the Wabaunsee Group in eastern Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 63.


No Specific Reports


Bowsher, A.L., Jewett, J.M., 1943. Coal Resources of the Douglas Group in East-Central Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 46.



No Specific Reports

Kansas City

Schoewe, W.H., 1944. Coal Resources of the Kansas City Group, Thayer Bed, in Eastern Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 52, part 3.


Jewett, J.M., Emery, P.A. and Hatcher, D.A., 1965. The Pleasanton Group (Upper Pennsylvanian) in Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 175, part 4.



Schoewe, W.H., 1955. Coal Resources of the Marmaton Group in Eastern Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 114, part 2, pp. 49-112.


Lange, J.P., 2003. Isopach Mapping of Cherokee Group Coals--Southeastern Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey Open-File Report.

Schoewe, W. H., 1959. "Mulky coal," Pt. 1 of Coal Resources of the Cherokee Group in Eastern Kansas. Kansas Geological Survey Bull. 134, pt. 5, 1959, pp. 184-222.



No Specific Reports



No Specific Reports