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Mining disturbances in Virginia's southwestern coalfield, 1984-2011
Donovan, Patricia F.
Zipper, Carl E.
Wynne, Randolph H.
Oliphant, Adam J.
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Coal mining has been taking place in southwestern Virginia's Appalachian coalfield for more than a century, and surface mining has been a common method of coal extraction since the 1960s. Coal surface mining creates a significant landscape disturbance that is visible from space during the period of active mining. Researcher's have constructed a surface-mining disturbance history for Virginia's Appalachian coalfield that extends from the early 1980s through 2011. A series of multispectral images of the region produced by Landsat satellites and extending from 1984 through 2011 was obtained and analyzed. The automated analysis generated a geospatial data file that identifies surface mined areas spatially and by year of initial disturbance as detected during that period. The classification accuracy was found to be 93.5 percent. A manuscript describing analysis methods, and interpreting and discussing results, has been submitted to an academic journal, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, for peer review. If the journal accepts and publishes the submitted article, the area map that is the outcome of this work will be posted here as a georeferenced .tif, along with a link to the article abstract and a citation for the published article.