Subsurface coal-mine fires: Laboratory simulation, numerical modeling, and depth estimation
Published:January 01, 2007
Anupma Prakash, Antony R. Berthelote, 2007. "Subsurface coal-mine fires: Laboratory simulation, numerical modeling, and depth estimation", Geology of Coal Fires: Case Studies from Around the World, Glenn B. Stracher
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Subsurface coal-mine fires occur in many mining regions, especially where coal has been previously excavated by “room-and-pillar” mining methods. The surface above these fires heats up to produce a thermal anomaly. The shape of the temperature profile over the fire zone holds clues to the depth of the underground fire. We simulated an underground coal-mine fire in the laboratory by burying a hot glass tube in a sandbox. The thermal anomaly over the tube was recorded using a forward looking infrared radiometer (FLIRTM) camera. Numerical modeling using finite-element techniques for various combinations of tube depth and tube temperature helped to empirically derive a depth-estimation function, called the linear anomaly surface transect (LAST) function. Comparisons of the results from the LAST function with the half-anomaly-width function for depth estimation developed by Panigrahi et al. (1995) showed that the LAST function gave more accurate results for shallow subsurface coal fires ranging in depth from a few centimeters to ∼10 m. for moderate-depth coal fires, ranging in depth from 10 m to 40 m, the depths estimated by the two functions were comparable.
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Geology of Coal Fires: Case Studies from Around the World
The “sedimentary cover” refers to the stratified rocks of youngest Proterozoic and Phanerozoic age that rest upon the largely crystalline basement rocks of the continental interior. The early chapters of the volume present data and interpretations of the geophysics of the craton and summarize, with sequential maps, the tectonic evolution of the craton. The main body of the text and accompanying plates and figures present the stratigraphy, structural history, and economic geology of specific sedimentary basins (e.g., Appalachian basin) and regions (e.g., Rocky Mountains). The volume concludes with a summary chapter in which the currently popular theories of cratonal tectonics are discussed and the unresolved questions are identified.