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Spontaneous combustion of coal seams is a complicated process that involves complex physical and chemical interactions between the seam and its surrounding environment; the ultimate results are a function of the interplay of internal and external conditions. Based on geologic field investigations and comprehensive analyses, four models of spontaneous combustion for coal were established: (1) a genesis-type model that is based on the coal characteristics that lead to spontaneous combustion; (2) a coal-fires propagation model, namely how spontaneous combustion propagates through a coal seam; (3) a model for the progressive stages and products of a coal fire; and (4) a cross-sectional model of zones that are conducive to spontaneous combustion in a mined-out area. These models provide a scientific and theoretic basis for monitoring and extinguishing the spontaneous combustion of coal.

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