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Data fusion for investigating land subsidence and coal fire hazards in a coal mining area

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Coal mining areas all over the world are often threatened by serious environmental hazards such as the occurrence of coal fires, land subsidence, etc. Coal fires burn away the natural non-renewable coal resources, locally raise the temperature of the area, emit polluting gases such as oxides of carbon, sulphur and nitrogen, and when present underground are even the cause of land subsidence. Mining-induced subsidences, on the other hand, cause horizontal and vertical movements in the land surface, and open cracks and fissures that serve as inlets for oxygen, which in turn aggravate the problem of coal fires. These inter-related phenomena often render the mining areas unfit for human inhabitation and the commercial exploitation of coal nearly impossible in some parts. In this study, satellite data acquired in three regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, namely optical, thermal and microwave, along with field data, are used to identify the areas affected by coal fires and land subsidence in a coalfield in north-west China. Data fusion techniques are used for an integrated analysis of this complex problem.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: International Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences (ITC), P.O. Box 6, 7500 AA Enschede, The Netherlands 2: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA 3: DEOS, Delft University of Technology, Thijsseweg 11, 2629 JA Delft, The Netherlands

Publication date: April 20, 2001

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