Coal Diver Everything you wanted to know about coal, but were afraid to ask.


This map shows all the coal mines currently active in the United States. Each region is color-coded based the region’s production in 2009, with smaller productions marked with greens and yellows; as production increases, the colors circle through orange to red.

Coal mining occurs all over the United States, but the kinds, densities and sizes of mines vary dramatically depending on the region. In Appalachia, the traditional center of coal mining, there are many more mines than anywhere else in the United States, so it is under a large green and yellow blob. When you zoom into the region, you can see the vast number of different mines, and if you switch over to “satellite” view when you get close enough, you can see the direct effects of mountaintop removal — large light spots devoid of the surrounding forest.

However, in general each mine in the East produces less than an equivalent mine in the West. In particular, the Powder River Region in Wyoming and southeastern Montana only has 15 mines, but its production far exceeds all of Appalachia.

Scale: less production more production

Note: there are some mines not marked on the map due to missing data in the datasets, and other mines where their reported location does not correspond with their location on the satellite photographs because it was incorrectly reported to MSHA.