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Title:  Geology
Level:  Secondary
KERA Goals:  1.2

Background Information -- Where is coal located in the United States?

Coal represents the United States' most abundant energy source.  The U.S. Geological Survey has identified 1.7 trillion tons of coal resources in the United States.  If yet undiscovered, but likely deposits are added, potential reserves may be as high as 4 trillion tons.  The World Energy Conference estimated that the coal reserve of the United States accounts for two-thirds of the free world's total and nearly 28 percent of the total world's recoverable coal.  By comparison, Saudi Arabia has about 23 percent of the world's proven petroleum reserves.

The United States has about 490 billion short tons of demonstrated reserves, which by definition are potentially minable on an economic basis with existing technology.   At current domestic consumption levels, this is enough coal to last 300 years.

Measurable quantities of coal are found in 36 states, and in 31 states the coal considered minable.  At present, coal mining occurs in 26 states, including areas of Appalachia, the Midwest, the Central and Northwestern Plains states, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest.

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