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Learn More
In Learn More the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects. Special thanks to the Research Division.

Related Links

Coal River Mountain Watch
The Coal River Mountain Watch is community-based organization in West Virginia dedicated to stopping mountaintop removal mining and helping to rebuild sustainable communities.

Mountaintop Removal
View an online slide show of mountaintop removal that presents excellent descriptions of this relatively new and controversial coal mining process.

How to Help
The Appalachian Center is a regional law and policy organization that works together with citizens to clarify and act on the environmental and economic issues that affect Appalachian communities.

Coal Impoundments
Coal impoundments, described as slurry ponds and sludge lagoons in the feature story, hold the waste that largely comes from underground mining. Visit this site to learn more about impoundments including some historic spills.

Appalachian Culture
Explore the Library of Congress website for photographs and oral histories of mountain life in Appalachia.


Freese, Barbara. Coal: A Human History. Penguin Books, 2003.

Montrie, Chad. To Save the Land and People: A History of Opposition to Surface Coal Mining in Appalachia. University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

National Research Council. Coal Waste Impoundments: Risks, Responses, and Alternatives. National Academy Press, 2002.

Williams, John Alexander. West Virginia: A History. West Virginia University Press, 2001.

NGS Resources

Meyer, Peter. "FBI Crime Center." National Geographic (May 2005), 122-8.

Kostyal, K. M. "Coal Diggers' Ways." National Geographic Traveler (September/October 1996), 116.

Ralston, Jeannie. "In the Heart of Appalachia." National Geographic (February 1993), 112-36.

Long, Michael E. "Wrestlin' for a Livin' With King Coal." National Geographic (June 1983), 792-819.