#coal #mining #mountaintop mining #United States

According to a new satellite mapping tool that allows users to track mountaintop removal over the last three decades in 74 key coal-mining counties in the U.S., it's estimated that coal companies blasted an average of 21,000 acres of Appalachian land every year in search of coal from 1985 to 2018 - an area about half the size of Washington, D.C.

The scientists found that coal in the region is getting more difficult to extract. In the 1980s and 1990s, coal companies had to blast 100 square feet of land to get one ton of coal. By 2010, this had jumped to 160 square feet per ton, and by 2015, more than 300 square feet.

"Any scientist interested in studying the impacts of mountaintop mining can now see exactly where mines are in the landscape and how long those impacts have been active," said Emily Bernhardt, a Duke University researcher who is using the data to understand more precisely how mountaintop mining affects water quality.

Please have a read at the original Yale e360 digest and try on the tool.