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Removing Methane (Degasification) From The Pittsburgh Coalbed In Northern West Virginia - Summary And Introduction
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    A joint investigation by the Bureau of Mines and the Christopher Coal Co. at the Humphrey No. 7 mine, operating in the Pittsburgh coalbed in northern West Virginia, was undertaken to gain more insight concerning the hazardous emission of methane gas in mining. This report describes the equipment, procedure, and results. Horizontal bleeder holes drilled in the faces drained large quantities of methane, eliminating downtime of mining equipment. Also, larger quantities of methane were removed by forcing 14 to 25 g,.p.m. water at 25 to 200 p.s.i. 5 pressure into the bleeder holes. In one infusion test a fluorescein dye was added to the infusion water; in later mining operations, the infusion water was traced for a distance of 1,500 feet. With vacuum pump applied to the horizontal hole the gas-flow rate increased, and the methane content decreased. Tests indicated that methane and water infused in bleeder holes traveled along the bedding planes of the Pittsburgh coalbed at a faster rate than across the planes. Methane associated with coalbeds is produced by the slow decomposition of carbonaceous material in the absence of air and the presence of water. It is lighter than air and, depending on its concentration, forms an inflammable or explosive mixture with air. It is believed that methane is entrapped in and around the pores of the coal and adjacent strata--often under great pressure. In many cases where the strata have been disturbed by geologic movements the

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