Turns out mountains really can be moved. Or rather, removed. Mountaintop removal, as the name implies, involves blasting away the tops of mountains in order to expose the coal seams underneath. The resulting tons of dirt and stone are typically discarded into nearby valleys and streams, with devastating impacts on mountain ecosystems. The process is particularly prevalent in the Appalachians, where, in the summer of 2007, Chicago-based photographer Daniel Shea set out to cover the coal industry. In his words:
"What began as an interest in the modern coal mining process known as mountaintop removal quickly evolved into an extensive survey of the social, political and, perhaps most importantly, cultural implications of extracting coal from the Appalachian Mountains. What I found over the course of the trip was that these coal-mining processes had quickly developed into one of the most destructive and pervasive forms of modern industry in the world."
More from the series here.