Direct estimation of diffuse gaseous emissions from coal fires: Current methods and future directions

Mark A. Engle, Ricardo A. Olea, Jennifer M.K. O'Keefe, James C. Hower, Nicholas J. Geboy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Coal fires occur in nature spontaneously, contribute to increases in greenhouse gases, and emit atmospheric toxicants. Increasing interest in quantifying coal fire emissions has resulted in the adaptation and development of specialized approaches and adoption of numerical modeling techniques. Overview of these methods for direct estimation of diffuse gas emissions from coal fires is presented in this paper. Here we take advantage of stochastic Gaussian simulation to interpolate CO2 fluxes measured using a dynamic closed chamber at the Ruth Mullins coal fire in Perry County, Kentucky. This approach allows for preparing a map of diffuse gas emissions, one of the two primary ways that gases emanate from coal fires, and establishing the reliability of the study both locally and for the entire fire. Future research directions include continuous and automated sampling to improve quantification of gaseous coal fire emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-172
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey Energy Resources Program , the U.S. Geological Survey Venture Capital Fund , and by NASA through a Kentucky Space Consortium grant. Max Hammond, III and Erika Neace (Morehead State University) assisted with collection and processing of diffuse CO 2 flux data from the Ruth Mullins coal fire. The authors would like to thank Allan Kolker (USGS) for suggestions and improvements made on an earlier version of this paper.


  • Coal fires
  • Emissions
  • Geostatistics
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Sequential Gaussian simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


Dive into the research topics of 'Direct estimation of diffuse gaseous emissions from coal fires: Current methods and future directions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this