rhe areas Coal M4iq7 JdHstry
DWIGHT F. HENDERSON
THE UNITED STATES CONSUL, WRITING FROM MOSCOW, RUSSIA,
on October 8, 1900, commented that, "The lack of ex-
ploitation of such evident mineral wealth as is found here
(in Siberia) is unparalleled in other parts of the civilized world."
"Evidently he had overlooked civilized Texas with her still greater
(known) mineral wealth,"' replied Richard L. Coleman. Al-
though that sounds like a statement taken from one of Texas'
bragging magazines, for many years Texas was believed to have
almost unlimited natural resources, especially coal. As late as
1917, it was said that "Texas contains the greatest lignite and
brown coal deposits in the United States."'
Texas is fortunate in having two of the principal classes of coal,
bituminous coal and lignite, or brown coal, with several varieties
of each type.
Bituminous coal is usually brownish black to black.. . Plant struc-
tures are only rarely visible to the naked eye but can be detected under
the microscope after preparation. The bituminous coals have a glassy
or greasy luster on fresh cross breaks. They are considerably harder
than lignites and more coherent.8
Lignite is softer, more friable or crumbly.
The color of lignite is usually a very dark brown. .. It contains
more or less clearly separable pieces of plant material identifiable as
lignitized roots, leaves, twigs, and tree trunks; but besides this material
there is a considerable amount of earthy to dense, more or less friable
material that cannot be identified as a botanical entity without the
aid of a miscroscope. . [It is usually] comparatively porous.4
Although lignite may be softer than bituminous, both are soft
1Richard L. Coleman, New Birmingham Texas Iron Properties (n.p. [19goo]), 11.
2Texas Mineral Resources, I, No. 5, P. i2.
3H. B. Stenzel, H. C. Fountain, T. A. Hendrick, and R. L. Miller, Geological
Resources of the Trinity River Tributary Area in Oklahoma and Texas (Austin,
194S; University of Texas Publication No. 4824), 31-32.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/. Accessed March 10, 2014.