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The Rocky Mountains and Great Plains regions contain a large part of the total coal resource in the United States. These resources, which occur in Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian to Maastrichtian) and lower Tertiary (Paleocene and Eocene) strata, range from lignite to anthracite ranks. Upper Cretaceous coals are principally bituminous to subbituminous, and lower Tertiary coals are generally subbituminous to lignite. Although coals in these regions have been mined over the past century, approximately 99 percent of the original resource remains (Averitt, 1975). Upper Cretaceous and lower Tertiary coal-bearing strata occupy a belt about 885 km wide and 2,000 km...

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