Ground Truth Trekking

How Much Coal?

How much coal is there?

How much coal is there?

The answer depends on what coal you count. Shown here is the range of possible answers from the estimated 3.6 trillions tons of total coal resource in the US to the 17 billions tons of currently recoverable coal at active mine sites. For reference, the US consumes around a billion tons of coal per year. In Alaska, the difference between identified and total coal resource is particularly striking and is due primarily to the sparseness of data available.

*Estimates for the US coal resource are from a USGS study in 1975 but are the most recent data available for the entire US.

 

 

Data Sources

  1. A) USGS 1975 study summarizing US coal resource and reserves
  2. B) USGS 2005 study re-analyzing Alaska resource
  3. C) National Resource Council study. The pdf is behind a pay-wall, but you can read it online (this link is to p. 50, where the relevant data is.)
Category of coal Amount (billions of metric tons) Source(s)
US Total Resource3600C, referencing A
US Identified Resource1500C, referencing A
US Reserve Base440C
US Recoverable Reserves240C
US Recoverable Reserves at active mines17C
Western Arctic of Alaska
Total Resource
3600B
Western Arctic of Alaska
Identified Resource
110B
Cook Inlet, Alaska
Total Resource
880-1500B
Cook Inlet, Alaska
Identified Resource
2.6-11B
Nenana / Central-Alaska
Total Resource
5.8-7B
Nenana / Central-Alaska
Identified Resource
9B

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By Bretwood HigmanGround Truth Trekking

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