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Energy Resources Program Coal Databases

National Coal Resources Data System (NCRDS)

National Coal Resources Data System

The U.S. Geological Survey Energy Resources Program has developed coal databases to characterize the location, quantity, and physical attributes and chemistry of U.S. coal and coal-related deposits. The National Coal Resources Data System (NCRDS) database is an integrated system utilizing commercial software to produce maps, resource calculations, and coal quality location maps. NCRDS databases contain coal data from Federal and State agencies, universities, the private sector, and foreign countries. NCRDS is comprised of three major components - COALQUAL, USTRAT, and USCOAL:

  • Coal point-source and chemical data (COALQUAL) containing geodetic location, field observations, sample analyses, bed thickness; lithology; depth of burial, moisture, ash, and sulfur content, heat value, and major-, minor-trace-element contents.
  • Coal distribution data (USCOAL) containing various published coal-resource estimates dating from 1940 to 1978. This historical database for coal-bearing States lists: State, county, coal field, geologic age, formation, rank, coal thickness, overburden thickness, and reliability of the published resource estimates. The summary resources total approximately to the estimates of Paul Averitt in USGS Bulletin 1412 -- Coal resources of the United States- January 1, 1974.
  • An assessment of the Powder River Basin has been recently completed and the data derived from the assessment is being released as Data Series 713. The Powder River Basin stratigraphic data is also being processed into the National Coal Resources Data System USTRAT database and will be available for download through the NCRDS database query tools in the near future.

Joe East
Project Chief

Robert Matthias
Supervisory IT Specialst

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National Coal Quality Inventory (NaCQI)

Access the National Coal Quality Inventory database (NaCQI): In 1999, the National Coal Quality Inventory (NaCQI) project was initiated to address a need for quality information on coals that will be mined during the next 20-30 years. The primary objective of this project was to create a database containing comprehensive, accurate and accessible chemical information on the quality of United States coals. This objective was to be accomplished through maintaining the existing U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) publicly available coal quality database and expanding that database through the acquisition of new samples from priority areas. Analysis of the new samples using updated coal analytical chemistry procedures were performed by the USGS and commercial laboratories. Priority areas include those where future sources of compliance coal are federally owned. This project was a cooperative effort between the USGS, various State geological surveys, universities, coal burning utilities, and the coal mining industry. Funding support came from the USGS, Electric Power Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy.

A total of 729 samples of raw or prepared coal, coal-associated shale, and coal combustion products (fly ash, hopper ash, bottom ash and gypsum) from nine coal producing States were analyzed for major-, minor- and trace-element concentrations. In addition, many samples had proximate and ultimate analyses generated. The elemental chemical data are presented in EXCEL format on both a remnant moisture basis (like the USGS COALQUAL database) and also on a dry basis.

One derivative product resulting from the NaCQI sample collection and analytical program was the creation of a new coal reference standard. The USGS, in cooperation with Quality Associates International (Ontario, Canada), which operates a program called CANSPEX, identified a need for a reference material that is a high-volatile-B or high-volatile-A bituminous coal (minimum of 13,000 Btu/lb, moist, mineral-matter-free basis) with low contents of ash yield and sulfur, and very low, but detectable contents of chlorine, mercury and other trace elements.

Based on chemical analyses of four coal samples collected by the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS), from the West Elk Mine near Somerset, Colorado, the coal produced at the West Elk Mine was identified as having a chemical composition that closely matched the requirements for the new coal reference material.

In April, 2003, the USGS and the CGS collected about 1000 pounds of coal from the West Elk Mine. This coal has been crushed, ground and split and the chemical analysis of the new coal standard is now in the final steps of certification.

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Access the COALPROD database: Historical production data for the major coal-producing regions of the conterminous United States.

Page Last Modified: Wednesday, December 03, 2014



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National Coal Resources Data System
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