The coal industry of Kentucky is an important market for limestone. Coal producers use limestone as rock dust for explosion abatement in underground coal mines and as a neutralizing agent in surface-mine reclamation and acid-drainage control. Crushed stone is also used for constructing and maintaining haulage roads.
In the Eastern Kentucky Coal Field, the coal-bearing rocks of Pennsylvanian age generally do not contain limestones that are thick enough to quarry or mine economically. But movement on the Pine Mountain overthrust fault has brought the Newman Limestone (Mississippian) to the surface along Pine Mountain in the southeastern part of the coal field.
The Newman on Pine Mountain in Harlan County was sampled at 1-foot intervals to determine its chemical quality and potential for industrial use, particular as low-silica rock dust. The sampled section contains two zones of low-silica stone, 64 and 25 feet thick, averaging 0.82 and 1.01 percent silica (SiO2), respectively. Intervals of high-calcium limestone are present in the low-silica zones. These deposits are potentially suitable for use as rock dust in underground coal mines and as neutralizing agents in surface-mine reclamation and acid-drainage control.
The intervals of chemically pure stone in Harlan County may be sufficiently thick to produce by selective quarrying or underground mining. Exploitation of the Newman deposits, however, will be complicated by the steep southeastward to southward dip (13 to 42°) of the beds, displacement along small faults within the limestone, and fracturing.
Information Circular 34
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
This investigation of limestone and dolomite resources in eastern Kentucky for coal-related industries was supported by the Kentucky Energy Cabinet, principally through grants from the University of Kentucky Institute for Mining and Minerals Research.
Dever, Garland R. Jr.; Moody, Jack R.; Robl, Thomas L.; and Barron, Lance S., "Low-Silica and High-Calcium Stone in the Newman Limestone (Mississippian) on Pine Mountain, Harlan County, Southeastern Kentucky" (1991). Kentucky Geological Survey Information Circular. 45.