Aerial view of mountain top removal for open pit coal mining in the Appalachian highlands of West Virginia. Mountaintop removal mining is a form of surface mining that requires the removal of the summit or summit ridge of a mountain in order to permit eas

March 4, 2015

(ALL INTERNAL RIGHTS and LIMITED EXTERNAL USES AUTHORIZED) Aerial view of mountain top removal for open pit coal mining in the Appalachian highlands of West Virginia. Mountaintop removal mining is a form of surface mining that requires the removal of the summit or summit ridge of a mountain in order to permit easier access to the coal seams. After the coal is extracted, the overburden (soil, lying above the economically desired resource) is either put back onto the ridge to approximate the mountain’s original contours or dumped elsewhere, often in neighboring valleys. PHOTO CREDIT: © Kent Mason

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