Extraction of coal, ores, and minerals from the earth by surface mining has occurred for many years and has always presented a significant challenge with regard to restoration of productive soil to mined areas. Federal and state regulations require that land should be returned to pre-mine productivity or reclaimed as per specific standards following mining. Excessive compaction of reconstructed soil caused by traffic of heavy earth moving equipment has been an enduring challenge regarding successful restoration of soil. A mechanical system was previously designed and developed to reconstruct soil to a depth of 1.22 m (48 in.) while completely avoiding equipment traffic. This article describes modification of the 'Soil Regenerator' prototype system to increase its capacity and improve levelness of reconstructed soil. The modifications included: a) remounting the blade to facilitate sidewise soil displacement, b) adding a blade extension which is moved by a hydraulic cylinder, and c) installing a soil surface sensing system to control position of the blade extension.

Soil reconstruction capacity was increased by 118% and surface levelness of reconstructed soil was improved. The standard error of vertical deviation from prescribed surface elevations of six 1.83‐m wide segments of reconstructed soil was 11 cm. Soil reconstructed with the system prior to the modifications was characterized by numerous mounds and depressions (> 25 cm) owing to uneven metering of soil. An automatic system to control soil displacement blade width in response to soil level sensor measurements was determined to function correctly in approximately 60% of instances examined. Malfunctions generally resulted in inappropriate blade retraction which corresponded to lower‐than-specified elevations of reconstructed soil surfaces.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Applied Engineering in Agriculture, v. 28, issue 2, p. 187-195.

© 2012 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

The copyright holder has granted permission for posting the article here.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

The research was sponsored in part by a grant from the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation.

Related Content

The research described in this article (10‐05‐018) was conducted by the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the Director.