We asked ACHE Team Leader Bo Webb this question. This is his email reply, including the data he used to compile his statistics:

(Webb) Sure,  it is given in metric tons.  I convert the metric tons into lbs. I metric ton  = 2204.6 lbs.   I then divide that large number by 300 blasting days per year ( no blasting on Sundays and allowed 13 other days, vacation, etc) to round off at 300 blasting days per year.   When I first did this I called Dave Van Der Linde at DEP and asked him what the percentage of total blasting in WV is minus MTR.  He told me it was so insignificant that it wouldn't change the equation.

2011,  WV 343,000    metric tons  = 756,177,800 lbs.   divided by 300 blasting days equals 2,520,592 lbs average per day.  No way to know the exact amount on any given day without obtaining blasting log books.  The blasting information is obtained by USGS from
the Institute of Makers of Explosives whom Homeland Security told me were responsible to keep such figures. Taking KY, Virgina, and Tennessee into account in the tables at minerals.usgs above and you will see the 5.5 million pounds per day in Appalachia.

Thanks, Bo Webb. This recalls conversations during the buildup to a possible attack on Syria's Assad, in which Cruise Missiles would be launched. A typical Tomahawk Cruise Missile carries an explosive payload of 450 Kg., or 1000 pounds. Although military expolosives might differ from the ammonium nitrate/fuel oil explosives for mountaintop removal, nonetheless we thought of equivalencies. If the explosives were to be equivalent, then each of six days per week in Appalachia the expolosive power of 5500 cruise missiles goes off. If the United States was attacked even one day by Al Qaeda or another terrorist organization, the reaction would be swift and retaliatory. Then why is it that mountaintop removal is not seen as a form of terrorism upon Appalachia?


MTR Explosives








An average of 5.5 million pounds of explosives blows up Appalachian mountains 6 days a week to extract thin layers of coal. These explosives spew into the atmosphere massive amounts of silica and aluminum compounds and ultrafine particles hazardous to human health.

Cruise Missile explosive equivalencies to MTR







The equivalent of the explosive power of thousands of Tomahawk Cruise Missiles blows up mountains for coal in Appalachia each day (6 days a week)