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Anthracite mine disasters

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FC: Anthracite mine disasters

2: On September 6, 1869, the Avondale colliery, located in Plymouth Township of Luzerne county, erupted in a huge bloom of flames. The colliery was built right above the mine shaft and caused all of the oxygen to be drawn out of the mine. Due to there not being any safety regulations there was a second shaft or another way out of the mine. All 108 miners in the mine died that day, plus two rescuer workers. The miners died of "black damp." Black Damp is "Carbon monoxide gas from coal when it displaces oxygen in the air." When they found one group of miners they were described as "seventy men and boys, some appearing as if they had quietly dropped asleep, while others seem to have struggled with their impending fate. Some of them, latter laid with their faces buried in coal dust in the floor, in the vain attempt to find a current of fresh air. Others hands were clasped to their throats, while not a few had their faces wrapped in their shirts. One father, Mr. William P. Evans, was stretched out, with a son closely clasped by each arm, while a third was lying between his legs with his head resting on his father's breast. Another father, Mr. Hutton (Hatton), lovingly embraced a young son, and all appeared as if sweetly sleeping. Mr. Evan Hughes, the Inside Boss, was sitting down with his head bent forward upon his breast, and with his hands clasped in front of him, while another body was reclining a few feet distant with face turned to Mr. Hughes, as though he had been engaged in a conversation with him, but a moment previous drawing his last breath." Avondale changed mining laws across the entire country and even today remains the deadliest Anthracite mine disaster in history.

3: Illustration of group described on previous page.

6: On June 18 1896 several miles of the Anthracite valley shook as the Newton coal companies Twin Shaft Colliery fell into the history books as a massive collapse of coal and rock occurred. Upwards of 90 men were in the mine when the collapse happened. Although the mine collapsed suddenly, there were warning signs of an impending collapse as the timbers helping support coal pillars started creaking. When rescue efforts were done, 58 men lay dead in the mine.

10: At around 11:30 AM on January 22, 1959 the Susquehanna river broke throughout the thin rock roof of the River Slope Mine, Knox Coal Company. had ignored map "Stop Lines" - where mining could not take place because of inadequate roof thickness - and continued to mine off course. State law prohibited mining within 35 feet of a riverbed, but the River Slope Mine came within 19 inches of the Susquehanna. Less than two feet of rock and gravel separated miners from 10 billion gallons of water. On January 22, 1959, the roof gave way, trapping seventy-four men. Sixty-two of them would eventually escape, but twelve were never found. The Susquehanna River had smashed into the mine, creating a whirlpool that pulled the water in and flooded miles of mines throughout the Wyoming Valley. The disaster at Knox ended most deep mining in the Wyoming Valley since all of the mines were mostly connected. The twelve men that were never found were working where the water broke into the mine, killing them instantly due to the force and pressure of the rushing water. The water was initially slowed down by dumping coal cars into the river, trying to plug the hole, until two temporary dams could be created to divert water from the hole.

15: Go and walk with Nature; thou wilt find Full many a gem in her enchanted cup. -Isaac McLellan

20: As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can. -John Muir

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  • By: Michael D.
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  • Title: Anthracite mine disasters
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