Hardcoal Chronicles 40th

1973 - 2013

Metamorphic Geology
The Underlying Meaning of our Name as a People

Anthracite, the Black Diamond, is metamorphic geology: Sedimentary Bituminous Coal layers were changed by the intense heat and pressure resulting from the folding of the mountains in what would become Northeastern Pennsylvania, yielding the world's finest coal, and ultimately we who bear its name. The surface evidence of this process is most clearly seen in the many parallel ridges and valleys of the southern half of the Coal Region. Beneath them, our coal seams hump up and down ( “anticlines and synclines”, respectively) steeply plunging and rising throughout our region.

Unlike most coal deposits elsewhere, where the seams are flat or gently sloping, we have the preferred option to deep mine with the aid of gravity in seams with a steep pitch. But our Deep Miners have faced every possible obstacle: Some of our seams outcrop as pitched, just to end up flattening out or pinching down to an unprofitable thickness. In some places the pattern was so complex that early surveys sometimes counted the same seam twice, resulting in a considerable over-estimate of our initial mineral wealth.

The same processes which transformed Bituminous into Anthracite also changed the adjacent Shale into Slate. Some of the world's most beautiful and durable Slate comes from our Slate Belt between the Blue Mountain (Appalachian Trail) and our industrial Lehigh Valley and Cement Belt. It is the complex and convoluted geology of Anthracite, Slate, Jackstone (Bull Conglomerate), and an array of other very tough rocks which often defies mechanization and requires Anthracite Deep Miners to drill and blast the coal free. This, coupled with the additional expense of heavy media cleaning (rock removal) at our breakers makes Anthracite so expensive to mine and prepare compared to other coals. It is this expense which stops its wide-spread use as electric generation coal even though it environmentally-friendly with very low sulfur and extremely high BTUs (heat value).


A1 Title plate
A2 Frontispiece
A3 Dedicatory
A4 Panels Intro
A5 The Region
A6 Overview
A7 Names & Titles
A8 Orientation
A9 Image Roster
A10 Farther Afield
A11 Portfolios
A12 Chronology
A13 thecoalman.com


C1 Metamorphic
C2 Mine Pits A
C3 Coal Holes
C4 Deep Mining
C5 Breakers
D1 People
D2 Pitch Black
D3 Coal Delivery
D4 PA Bituminous
D5 Soft Coal
D6 Mine Pits B
D7 Coaling Towers
E1 Coal Trains
E2 Coal Cars
E3 Non-Coal RR
E4 Car Shots
F1 Night Images
F2 Jim Lukens Art
F3 Anthracite Racing
F4 Racing Reunion


H1 Linking Up
H2 Homecoming
H3 Photographers
H5 “Last Call” continued
K1 Acknowledgements
K2 Thank You
K3 Honorees
K4 Ambassador
K5 Silver Images
K6 Framers
K7 Dan's Camera
K8 Rob-Win Press
K9 Lew Graver
K10 Avanti Cigars
N1 “Year in the Life”
N2 The Work in 2011
N3 Continuity
N4 “Parting Shot”


Q1 Calendar
Q2 Show Venues
Q3 Visitors Welcome
Q4 Links
Q5 “On Hold”
Q6 Copyright Notice
Q7 Gifting of Images
Q8 Site Update
R1 Return