Development of a Technology for Dealing with Burning Coal Outcrops


A major problem exists in many areas of the United States where outcropping coal seams have, either naturally or by man made means, caught fire. Methods of dealing with these hazardous sites have historically required either the injection of vast quantities of water at prohibitive cost to the environment and of dubious ultimate worth; or, the excavation of overlying material and the removal and extinguishing of the burning material before it is replaced. Such procedures are relatively expensive. The University of Missouri-Rolla, under funding from the Office of Surface Mining through the Department of State Lands in Montana has developed a technique for excavation in the vicinity of the burning material to create barriers to stop flame propagation within the coal seam. In the initial field experimentation at a burning outcrop in Montana the size of the flame front within the coal seam was established by using high pressure waterjets to drill through the burning material. Thermocouples were then positioned along this hole which is partially backfilled in order to allow temperatures to reestablish themselves; this then allowed definition of the burning area. Attempts were then made to remove all the burning material using the waterjet as a reaming device.

Meeting Name

1986 Symposium on Mining, Hydrology, Sedimentology, and Reclamation.


Mining Engineering

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 1986 University of Kentucky, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 1986

This document is currently not available here.