MAPPING OF COAL MINE FIRES AND RESULTING SUBSIDENCE IN THE JHARIA COALFIELD (INDIA) USING ASTER MULTISPECTRAL THERMAL IR AND ERS SAR IMAGES

World Mining Congress
Coal mine fires burn about 20–21 million tons of coal per year throughout the world, which not only results in loss of valuable coal reserves, but also cause serious environmental hazards over large areas. The famous Jharia Coalfield of Dhanbad, India is no exception; here a coal mine fire originally reported nearly a century ago is still continuing unabated in vast areas of the coalfield. In this paper, an attempt has been made to analyse high resolution multispectral thermal images of ASTER for mapping and delineating surface and subsurface coal mine fire areas of this coalfield. From the generated temperature gradient map, as well as from the surface temperature anomaly map, it has been possible to differentiate shallow and deep coal mine fire regions and other erroneous cultural features. It is observed that the coal fires are distributed mostly in the eastern part of the area, which has branched into two major coal fire zones: one along Lodna- Tisra-Bhulanbarari-Kujama-Jealgora Jharia and the other along the Kusunda-Kendudih area. The western fire zone is restricted in Dumra-Nadkhurkee-Jayramdih area. From ASTER thermal infrared data from 2006, the total affected area is estimated to be about 7 km2, of which the deep subsurface coal mine fire area is around 3 km2 and the shallow surface coal mine fire area is around 4 km2, as compared to 18 km2 coal mine fire area estimated in 1987 using Landsat TM thermal band data. In other words, the fireaffected region has decreased by about 50 % during the last 18 years. However, such decrease in coal fire area is seen in the central portion only, and has in fact increased in the south eastern parts of the Jharia coalfield. Study of Differential Interferometery images, generated from Earth Resources Satellite (ERS) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) tandem data has shown that the active coal mine fires are in general associated with low topography/subsidence areas.
Keywords: Fires; Coal; coal mines; Coal mine; Temperature; Data; India; Maps; Sensing; Subsidence;
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