Sunday, August 12, 2007

Crandall Canyon Coal Mine Collapse

I had my suspicions about this one from the first day of reporting, which I guess was last Monday. That would have been the day of our convocation at VSU, where I am now teaching on a one-year temporary appointment.

Geophysicists with both the University of Utah and the U.S. Geological Survey were already saying late Monday that the event recorded on seismographs was the collapse itself, rather than an earthquake which triggered it. I know of a similar collapse event which is often mistaken for an earthquake in the seismological record for the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania. A "first motion" or "moment tensor" analysis using seismographs from throughout the western United States has now been completed by a team at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory. The source mechanism for the August 6 seismic event is most consistent with the collapse of an underground cavity.

Robert Murray, who owns part of the mine in which the six miners are now entombed, continues to question the findings of geophysicists which have been reported by the press. For an excellent analysis of the mining methods and rock properties that played a role in this disaster see the recent post at The Oil Drum.

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3 Comments:

At 8:47 PM , Blogger HollyGL said...

This is so upsetting. What you're saying, then, is that the miners died right away. Have you noticed that there seem to be a lot of mines failing over the last year or so? Or have I just happened to notice news reports more readily?

 
At 11:03 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

I never thought that there was much hope for the miners. It sounds to me like the collapse occurred where they were working due to the techniques being used there. I know what you mean about having a general impression frequent mining accidents. I have not seen an analysis of that, but I do know the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MHSA) has been tending to cooperate with mining companies rather than levy large fines or close down operations. This "cooperative" approach to regulation actually goes back to the Clinton administration, but Bush actually had a mining industry spokesman named J. Steven Griles working for him at Interior.

 
At 7:04 PM , Blogger Anna said...

Hi Don;
Hollygl, it is upsetting whenever something like this occurs. Mining is a dangerous occupation and unfortunately there are many times where rescue or recovery attempts cannot or is not even attempted due to the mine area being so unstable. We've had many mining disasters here throughout Nova Scotia's history and alot of good men lost.

Unfortunately in some cases these could very well have been avoided if certain protocals and/or regulations were followed more closely or even in place at all.

Our last mine disaster, I think it was something like 27 bodies were unrecoverable and the mine had to be flooded. The mine shafts lie under several of our towns. I feel for the families of those 6 miners who lost their lives.

Take care;
Anna

 

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