Southern Yakut Coal Basin
Southern Yakut Coal Basin
a coalfield located in the southern part of the Yakut ASSR, on the Aldan Plateau. The Southern Yakut Coal Basin extends for 750 km in an east-west direction along the northern slopes of the Stanovoi Range, from the Olekma River in the west to the Uchur River in the east. The basin has a total area of 25,000 sq km, and it encompasses five coal-bearing regions—Aldan-Chul’man, Usmun, Ytymdzhin, Gonam, and Tok. As of 1968, its reserves totaled 22.9 billion tons of coal, roughly half of which was in the Aldan-Chul’man region. As of 1975, explored reserves totaled 2.8 billion tons. The presence of coal around the upper course of the Aldan River was established in the mid–19th century, and six coal deposits were discovered between 1951 and 1956.
The coal deposits of the basin were formed mainly in the Jurassic and partially in the Cretaceous, and they rest on Cambrian-Archean rocks. In most of the basin, the Mesozoic beds are almost horizontal. The coal-bearing strata include one to five workable seams that generally range in thickness from 0.7 m to 2.0 m. Most notable is the Neriungra deposit, which has seams with an average thickness of 22.5 m and a maximum thickness of 60 m.
The coals found in the Southern Yakut Coal Basin are primarily humic coals with a moderate degree of metamorphism. They are high-grade coals, and almost all of them are suitable for coking. The basin has bright and semibright coals. The moisture content is generally 0.7–1.4 percent, and the ash content 10–18 percent (up to 35–40 percent if contaminated); the yield of volatile matter is 18–35 percent, and the sulfur content is 0.3–0.4 percent. The coals have a heat value of 36.1–37.4 megajoules per kg (23.9–26 megajoules per kg for oxidized coal).
The Aldan-Chul’man region, which is crossed by the Amur-Yakut highway, has been best studied. Construction has been completed on the Tynda-Berkakit branch line of the Baikal-Amur Main Line. As of 1977, development of the Neriungra deposit was under way, and construction had begun of an enormous strip mine with an annual capacity of more than 10 million tons. Rich deposits of iron ore have been discovered to the north of the Southern Yakut Coal Basin. The existence of the ore in proximity to deposits of hard coal makes possible large-scale production of ferrous metals; the development of the Southern Yakut Territorial-Production Complex is based on the coal and iron deposits.
REFERENCEBredikhin, I. S. “Iuzhno-Iakutskii (Aldanskii) ugol’nyi bassein.” In Geologiia mestorozhdenii uglia i goriuchikh slantsev SSSR, vol. 9, book 2. Moscow, 1973.
I. I. MOLCHANOV