The Effects of Coal Mining, Visualized: Environmental Damage

Between 1972 and 1974, an Environmental Protection Agency photography initiative called Documerica sought to capture areas of contemporary environmental concern. The photographs in this slideshow were taken primarily in the Appalachian regions of Ohio and West Virginia. They portray the landscapes altered by new surface mining techniques.

What do these images reveal about the environmental degradation associated with the shift to surface mining?

What do they obscure?


Environmental Protection Agency, DOCUMERICA: The Environmental Protection Agency’s Program to Photographically Document Subjects of Environmental Concern, 1972-1977. Record Group 412: Records of the Environmental Protection Agency, 1944-2006.

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Teaching Unit: 

Late 20th Century Coal Mining