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Medium-resolution Landsat5 TM (thematic Mapper) and Landsat7 ETM+ (Enhanced thematic Mapper) satellite data were used to investigate multitemporal land-cover changes in the Wuda and Ruqigou-Gulaben coal basins of China between 1987 and 2002. The surficial distribution of coal as detected by remote sensing may be an important indicator of mining activity. Coal that is exposed on the surface may appear as seams in openpit mines; the coal also may occur in storage and waste piles, as refuse at the entrance to a mine, or as coal dust covering areas adjacent to the exposed coal. Because both coal basins are...

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