Study – Geomorphic Considerations in Mining Reclamation

To examine the application of geomorphic design as reclamation approach for surface mines in steep regions with higher rainfall in Appalachia, the West Virginia University has conducted a modeling study at a Arch Coal operated mountaintop mine in southern West Virginia, reports the State Journal.

The goals of the study were to come up with a design that would recontour the land for better stability, greater plant diversity and lower costs — to minimize the adverse effects of the mining, he said, while benefiting from the stability philosophies of the AOC approach.

A comparative analysis shows that the geomorphic design results in more stream-feet — 31,000 compared with 20,000 — and would give greater slope stability than the original AOC design through most of the area.

It would be more expensive than the AOC design, Quaranta [John Quaranta, associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at WVU] said, but does not yet know how much more.