Effects of Longwall Mining on Surface Soil Moisture and Tree Growth

Runkle, James R.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Studies in eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia, and southwestern Pennsylvania determined whether subsidence caused by longwall mining influences soil moisture and tree growth. Soil moisture was measured both over new longwall panels and over an unmined control area throughout the growing seasons of 1990, a wet year when the panels were excavated, and 1991, a dry year. No significant effects of mining could be detected. Tree growth was studied in two pairs of woodlots. In each pair, one woodlot was located over a longwall panel excavated about 1980 and the other over an unmined area. Differences in tree growth between mined and unmined areas were neither significant (for most species) nor consistent in direction. The above results imply that if mining does have impacts they are likely to be highly site-specific and localized such as by disruptions of springs or soil slippage.
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