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National Coal Resource Data System (NCRDS)

Database Manager: Gretchen Hoffman

For the past 35 years, coal data from drill holes and outcrop measurements, and coal quality data have been collected, interpreted and entered into the National Coal Resource Data System (NCRDS) through a cooperative grant program with the US Geological Survey. These data are geographically located by latitude and longitude and the Public Land Survey System (Township and Range). A majority of the stratigraphic and quality data have been used for research and publications, including NM Bureau of Geology Resource Map 20 on the coal fields of New Mexico. Computerized databases have been developed and maintained at NMBG for research purposes in conjunction with data entry into the NCRDS. A Coal Data Library was established at NMBG several years ago to catalog and keep the original logs, maps and other information collected through this program in one centralized location.

Coal Availability studies, were funded by USGS through NCRDS cooperative agreements to use these data sets and look at coal areas (on a quadrangle scale) having potential for mining. These studies evaluate at the original coal resource and then remove any mining, technological, environmental, or cultural restrictions to determine the available coal in an area. All of these calculations are done within a GIS.

Five availability studies were done from 1998 - 2005:

  • Bisti area, southwest of Farmington, New Mexico looking at Fruitland Formation coal resources completed in 1998 (OFR-438).
  • Menefee Formation coals in the Standing Rock area, northwest of Grants, New Mexico looking at the Cleary Coal Member, (OFR-540).
  • Investigates the Upper Member Menefee Formation coals in the La Ventana area southwest of Cuba, New Mexico (OFR-457).
  • Fruitland Formation coals in the Fruitland and Navajo fields, 2001 (OFR-464).
  • Raton and Vermejo formations coals in the central Raton basin, northeast New Mexico, 2005 (OFR- 490).

The current 5-year cooperative grant (2010-2015) is focused on verifying existing data (+2900 points) in the NCRDS for release on the web and data entry of geophysical logs housed in the Coal Data Library  that are not in the system. This includes some data in the smaller coal fields within the State. Geologic maps with coal outcrop data are being scanned, georeferenced and georeferenced in geodatabases for entry into NCRDS. Several of these have been completed and are available as NMBG Open-file reports (OFR 552-554) covering much of the southern San Juan basin coal-bearing sequences.