Mountain Top Paper

Topics: Coal, Mining, Appalachian Mountains Pages: 3 (825 words) Published: August 28, 2013
Lacey Allen
Mountaintop mining refers to coal mining by different surface methods such as: contour mining, area mining, and mountaintop removal mining. Mountaintop removal mining is a type of surface mining that includes the mining of the summit or summit ridge of a mountain. Coal seams are detached from the top of a mountain, ridge, or hill by removing the overburden above them, and replacing the overburden back on the ridge to replace the approximate original contour of the mountain. All of the excess amounts of overburden that cannot be positioned on the ridge top is moved into neighboring valleys. These procedures have become dominant in the central Appalachian coalfields, where low sulfur coal deposits occur in thin layers that are often too narrow for traditional deep-mining methods (The Open Earth Project, Pg. 1).

From one perspective, the problem is that where many communities are located, lowlands and interstates, they simply do not see what is going on up there. Only from a plane can you fully comprehend the magnitude of the destruction. If you were to follow the Appalachian Mountains up through Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, you would be amazed not by the splendor of a densely forested range, but rather by inevitable images of ecological violence. For example, you would see unfolding sequences of staggered green hills that quickly give way to a varied expanse of gray plateaus dented with murky craters and huge black ponds filled with a lethal byproduct called coal slurry (Mountaintop-removal Mining Is Devastating Appalachia Pg. 1). The despair stretches up the Kentucky-Virginia line, before making its way across southern West Virginia.

Mountaintop removal is not only just taking away beautiful landscape; there is much more inherent danger that is happening as well. The constant blasting of the mountains to mine in the process that follows is harmful to the people in the neighboring towns where the mining takes place. Foundations of...

Cited: "Ending Mountaintop Removal Mining in Tennessee." « Appalachian Voices. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. <>.
"Mountaintop-removal Mining Is Devastating Appalachia, but Residents Are Fighting back." Grist. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. <>.
"People Who Live near Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Have Cancer Rates Twice as High as People Living Elsewhere." Peace . Gold . Liberty. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. <>.
"The Open Earth Project - Mountaintop Mining to Claim Another 400,000 Acres of Appalachia." Web. 12 Mar. 2012. <>.
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