Durham Coalfield

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British Coalfields

The Durham Coalfield is a coalfield in north-east England.[1] It is continuous with the Northumberland Coalfield to its north. It extends from Bishop Auckland in the south to the boundary with the county of Northumberland along the River Tyne in the north, beyond which is the Northumberland Coalfield.[2]

The two contiguous coalfield areas were often referred to as the Durham and Northumberland Coalfield(s) or as the Great Northern Coalfield.[3]


See also Geology of County Durham

The following coal seams are recorded from the Durham coalfield. They are listed here in stratigraphic order with the youngest at the top and the oldest/deepest at the bottom:[4]

Upper Coal Measures

  • Hylton Castle

Middle Coal Measures

  • Dean
  • Hebburn Fell
  • Usworth
  • Ryhope Five-Quarter
  • Ryhope Little
  • High Main
  • Metal
  • Five-Quarter
  • Main
  • Maudlin
  • Durham Low Main
  • Brass Thill
  • Hutton

Lower Coal Measures

  • Harvey
  • Tilley
  • Busty
  • Three-Quarter
  • Brockwell
  • Victoria
  • Marshall Green
  • Ganister Clay

New Technology Future for the Durham Coalfield[edit]

With the development of modern technology to produce energy and capture carbon dioxide by carbon capture and storage (CCS)[5] there is renewed interest in the exploitation[6] of the Durham Coalfield reserves by underground coal gasification. This is of strategic importance to local energy intensive industry such as the commodity chemical and steel members of the Northeast of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC).[7]


  1. ^ The Durham Coalfield, Coalmining History Research Centre, archived from the original on 2011-07-19, retrieved 2010-12-05 Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ British Geological Survey 2007 Bedrock geology: UK North 1:625,000 scale geological map, BGS, Keyworth, Notts
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2010-09-19. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ British Geological Survey 1:50,000 scale geological map sheet no 21 (England & Wales series) Sunderland
  5. ^ Roddy, Dermot; Younger, Paul (24 February 2010). Underground coal gasification with CCS: a pathway to decarbonising industry. Energy & Environmental Science.
  6. ^ Pierce, Fred (15 February 2014). Beyond Fracking The next energy revolution could be fired by coal (PDF). New Scientist. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  7. ^ Higgins, Stan; O'Hare, Felix (27 October 2016). "What industry needs form a UK industry strategy". The Chemical Engineer - www.thechemicalengineer.com. Retrieved 4 November 2016.

Coordinates: 54°50′19″N 1°36′16″W / 54.8386°N 1.6045°W / 54.8386; -1.6045