Relationship in metastasis of coal fire and land use/cover using thermal imagery and support vector machine classifier

  • Amartanshu Srivastava
  • Suresh Pandian Elumalai
  • Elluru Venkata Ramana Raju
Original Paper


The objective of the present study was to delineate temporal and spatial changes in the coal fire and land use/cover within Bastacolla area of Jharia coal field. Studying this variation helped to decipher interconnection among the dynamics of the coal fire and concomitant changes in land use/cover. The detection of coal fires during a span of 14 years along with transitioning land use/cover was cost-effective and enabled planning for management of coal resources and environment. Landsat series of satellite data of 2002, 2009, 2013, and 2016 were processed for generating land surface temperature profiles vis-a-vis classified land use/cover of the study area. A single cut-off temperature was derived for mapping of coal fires using land surface temperature profile from 2002 to 2016. The satellite images were classified using support vector machines, and for depicting land use/cover change, post-classification change detection was done. Classification accuracy obtained was excellent with kappa coefficient ranging from 0.897 for classified image of 2002 to 0.799 for classified image of 2016. Results revealed that coal fires had shifted to the central west part of the area. Furthermore, pockets of coal fire from northern and eastern part of the study area have diminished. OB dumps and coal quarry/coal dump may be attributed towards the spatial change in coal fire while; OB dumps showed connotation with the highest temperature zones. Ground verifications for temperature profiles and coal fires were carried out using thermal camera which enunciated good agreement with results.


Coal fire Cut-off temperature Support vector machine Coal mining Overburden dumps 



The authors acknowledge the support and guidance provided by the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad, India and Bharat Coking Coal Limited, Dhanbad for carrying out the research work. The authors express their courtesy to the USGS Earth Explorer platform of United States Geological Survey, USA and National Data Centre of National Remote Sensing Centre, India for the provision of satellite data. The authors also express gratitude towards anonymous reviewers for their constructive critiques and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) DhanbadDhanbadIndia
  2. 2.Environment Department, Bharat Coking Coal LimitedDhanbadIndia

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