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Minerals of Tennessee - Matt Pahde Geology 101 Section 008...

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Matt Pahde Geology 101 Section 008 Minerals of Tennessee The state of Tennessee is filled with many different geologic structures and minerals. The mineral industry in Tennessee contributes almost $800 million in product value annually. Also, Tennessee’s mineral industry has a total direct and indirect economic impact of nearly $8.8 billion and affects more than ninety-eight thousand jobs. Dating back to the 18 th century, Tennessee has mined more different kinds of mineral resources than any other state east of the Mississippi River, excluding North Carolina. While Tennessee is by no means the leading state in the production of minerals, it has its fair share. Tennessee is known to have energy minerals, or fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, natural gas, and radioactive minerals. Not all of these minerals have deposits large enough or high enough quality to be mined currently, but under different economic conditions this could change. Coal, oil, and natural gas are currently being mined in Tennessee, but their annual value is nowhere near that of other minerals. Currently, the recovery of coal, oil, and natural gas account for about only ten percent of Tennessee’s annual mineral production value. In the United States, coal provides about twenty-three percent of all the energy consumed. Coal is a very complex and diverse energy resource that can vary greatly, even in the same deposit. There are four basic varieties of coal, which is caused by geologic forces altering plant material in different ways. The four basic types of coal are lignite, subbituminous coal, bituminous coal, and anthracite. The production of coal in
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Tennessee is not very large, but it is usually high quality. Currently, the most common type of coal being mined in Tennessee is bituminous coal, which is found in the Cumberland Plateau and Cumberland Mountains region. Bituminous coal is the third stage in the formation of coal. Bituminous coal is also known as “soft” coal and is the type of coal most commonly used for electric power generation in the United States. It has a higher heating value than lignite and subbituminous, but less heating value than anthracite. Other than just generating electricity for the United States, bituminous coal is also used to make coke which is used as the main fuel in iron-making blast furnaces.
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