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Mountaintop Removal as practiced in Appalachia entails the rapid removal of anything above a coal seam via blasting and excavation, generally into the adjacent valley. The coal is subsequently removed via large dump trucks to be washed with volumes of water and chemicals in preparation for shipping via train to a distribution point or final user.
Core samples are drilled to find the location of the coal seams after which the land is cleared. Large holes are then drilled to accept explosives which loosens and fractures the earth covering the coal. That “overburden” is then dumped in the most convenient spot to allow for the collection of the coal.
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