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BEN CRAVEN - 200458149

Last year, over forty per cent of energy generation in the UK last year was provided by coalburning power stations1. However, rising volumes of electrical-energy production from coal are set in a background of increasing coal imports, where 80% of steam-coal hails from abroad2. This contribution from outside the UK has continued the decline of the coal industry, and has caused both industry commentators and insiders to refer to the industry as dying3. Coal mining firms are struggling against imports of cleaner, cheaper coal; last month Scottish Coal went into liquidation4 soon followed by ATH Resources5. This has meant that only Kier Mining is left surface mining in the East Ayrshire area of Scotland6, where this project is focused. Although in the past deep mining allowed seams as deep as 800 m to be worked, these days surface mining is the only technique used in Scotland7, allowing seams only as deep as 200 m to be worked8. The vast majority of the coal mined in the United Kingdom is of Carboniferous age, specifically from the Westphalian Stage (315-306.5 Ma)9. This is no exception within the Midland Valley, where Carboniferous coal was formed in swamps on the deltas that were filling the area during uplift of the Caledonian Mountains [geology of the midland valley].

Exploration for new sites is still being continued by Kier, but this is often based purely on borehole information and BGS map information. What this project aims to achieve is a structural framework for the Carboniferous Coal Measures around a prospective area in East Ayrshire, including structural information about what may be expected in boreholes (e.g. average fault orientations and offsets). This will allow Kier to best plan further exploration in the area.
2 km

Area of study

Potential for exploration

Data have been acquired from mines in the East Ayrshire area run by ATH resources PLC, Scottish Coal Company Ltd and Kier Mining. Data include: Borehole data with geophysical gamma and density logs; mine abandonment plans; existing geological map data (BGS New Cumnock Sheet 14E); DEMs of the area; aerial and satellite images; and survey data- differential GPS readings at a resolution ~5 m. Data can be readily combined in Midland Valleys software package Move to create a 3D model of the study area. This will be initially compared to the cross-section availble on the BGS map of the New Cumnock area to check whether the section is correctly balanced and, if not, which complex areas should be focused on By using the published fault data, 3D models for fault interaction styles can be built (strike-slip dominated? Pure dip-slip?) using iterative methods. Once the fault frameworks(s) are compiled and tested, a high-resolution focus can be put on the prospective exploration area. By using data from existing nearby mine seams a predictive model for fault offsets and orientations.

1. Gosden, E. Coals final chapter is not yet written. The Telegraph (2013).at <> CoalImp Coal Facts - Association of UK Coal Importers. Coal Facts (2013).at <> Carrington, D. Coals dirty secret: it's dying. The Guardian (2011).at <> BBC Scottish Coal: Liquidators in talks with interested parties. BBC NEWS (2013).at <> ATH Resources PLC ATH Resources plc - in administration. ATH News Archive (2013).at <> Coal Action Scotland Open-Cast Coal Mining. (2012).at <> Fraser, D. Red ink and black stuff. BBC NEWS (2013).at <> British Geological Survey Mineral Planning Factsheet. (2010).at <> Rohde, R. A. GeoWhen Database - Westphalian. GeoWhen Database (2005).at <>

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