Investigation of groundwater in abandoned underground coal mines

Status Start Date End Date Locations
completed Jan 26, 2009 Dec 31, 2011 Clay, Daviess, Fountain, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Parke, Pike, Posey, Sullivan,
Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Warrick
Director: Denver Harper
Other Researchers: Tracy Branam, Greg Olyphant,
Funding: Indiana University - Indiana Geological & Water Survey
Issue: More than 190,000 acres of Indiana are underlain by abandoned underground coal mines. Many of these mines are flooded, representing a high-yield aquifer that may contain as much as 170 billion gallons of water. Although this aquifer is potentially of significant value for a variety of purposes, little is known about the quality of water within it, the mechanisms of its recharge, the hydrodynamics of individual mine pools, and the mechanisms of its discharge.
Objective: Increase public awareness and interest in the potential use of underground mine waters as a geothermal resource, a groundwater resource, and a mine-reclamation resource.
Approach: This investigation involves a literature search, data mining and organization, development of a water-chemistry database, development of GIS layers and associated metadata, and development and dissemination of articles and presentations.
Products: Products will include an IGS publication in the Occasional Paper or Special Report series, an IGS Web page, an article for GeoNews, and possibly a paper in a conference proceedings.
Benefits: The information that is compiled should be useful in efforts to manage and remediate the coal-mine aquifer of Indiana.