A GIS Methodology for Assessing the Safety Hazards of Abandoned Mine Lands (AMLs): Application to the State of Pennsylvania

International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research, Vol. 2, Issue 3, 2011

Timothy J. Dolney

“Abandoned mine lands (AMLs) associated with past coal-mining scar Pennsylvania’s landscape with environmental and safety hazards. Reclamation projects eliminate and reduce hazards AMLs pose. Due to the large number of AMLs and limited funds, precedence is given to reclaim the most hazardous sites first. These sites are identified through an assessment process that assigns priorities to AMLs. However, priorities are out-dated and do not accurately reflect the current spatial distribution of land use and census data. This article presents a GIS methodology for the prioritization of AMLs using the process of extrapolation and focal statistics. By incorporating current assessment techniques into GIS with current land use and census data, AML priorities were reassigned to accurately reflect the current spatial landscape. Results indicate that current AML priorities assigned by the state do not accurately reflect current land use and census data and underestimate the safety hazards of many sites, including high priority sites.”