Spontaneous fossil fuel fires, especially coal fires, are known worldwide. They occur in numerous sites, both completely natural (coal seam outcrops) and anthropogenic (burning mining waste heaps, or BMWHs). Coal and waste/barren rock fires produce gaseous emanations, acting within exhalative processes. This factor is rarely being considered as influencing quality of the atmospheric air. The paper shortly discusses most important available methods for field gas analysis, with an emphasis on a portable FTIR spectrometer. It summarizes results of gas analyses from Polish BMWHs, using a multi-tool approach. It also lists a number of additional analyses from 53 vents of these environmentally important objects, with the main purpose of enlarging the knowledge of the span of concentrations of the particular compounds. This is especially true for formaldehyde, pyridine, CO, 1,1,1-trichloroethene, 1,1-dichloroethene, cumene, SO2, and, to a lesser extent, NO2, CCl4, ethane, propane, ethene, and thiophene. The latter, and DMS, are confirmed as gaseous S source more frequent and rich than SO2.
Part of the book: Environmental Sustainability