What is the biggest coal deposit in the United States?

The biggest coal deposit by volume is the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana, which the USGS estimated to have 1.07 trillion short tons of in-place coal resources, 162 billion short tons of recoverable coal resources, and 25 billion short tons of economic coal resources (also called reserves) in 2013.

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Which country has the most coal?

The United States has the largest proven coal reserves, with an estimated 260.5 billion short tons of coal in 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

What are the types of coal?

There are four major types (or “ranks”) of coal. Rank refers to steps in a slow, natural process called “coalification,” during which buried plant matter changes into an ever denser, drier, more carbon rich, and harder material. The four ranks are: Anthracite: The highest rank of coal. It is a hard, brittle, and black lustrous coal, often referred...

What is coal used for?

Coal is primarily used as fuel to generate electric power in the United States. The coal is burned and the heat given off is used to convert water into steam, which drives a turbine. In 2012, about 39 percent of all electricity in the United States was generated by coal-fired power plants, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration...

What is coal?

Coal is a sedimentary rock made predominantly of carbon that can be burned for fuel. Coal is readily combustible, black or brownish-black, and has a composition that, including inherent moisture, consists of more than 50 percent by weight and more than 70 percent by volume of carbonaceous material. It is formed from plant remains that have been...
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Image shows side-by-side satellite views of the Powder River Basin
July 8, 2016

Landsat Reveals Industrial Growth in Powder River Basin

The expanding coal fields in Wyoming's Powder River Basin serve as prime examples of Landsat's ability to monitor land cover change related to industrial growth across the American landscape.

Coal mine in the Powder River Basin

Coal mine in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana

Attribution: Energy and Minerals
Image shows an excavator in front of a coal seam

Wyoming coal mine

A coal seam in a Wyoming mine. Credit: Bureau of Land Management