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 Post subject: Knox Mine Disaster MSHA Report
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:34 pm
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
this was before msha, but their predecessor the Dept of Mines, wrote this report on the innundation. its a good read. mentions all the mines directly effected by the flooding. eventually almost all of them in the southern part of the northern field, or wyoming basin) were effected. also if you scroll to the bottom you can find the photos, some real neat ones from inside after they pumped it out!

http://www.msha.gov/District/Dist_01/Re ... page01.htm

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:47 pm 
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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Very interesting!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:51 pm
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Location: SW Indiana
Interesting read.

The report didn't attempt to place blame for a situation that could only be called insanity. It doesn't take a geology degree to see they were asking for trouble.

The question that comes to mind is; was the condition of the thin roof known to be that severe? It is obvious that they knew they were beyond the safety zone.

They being the company, I doubt any miner had a clue.

To some degree this is not that much different than Que Creek (sp?). Except at Que Creek wasn't there a survey error or an error on the maps?

One case would be considered criminal today and one an accident.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:38 pm 
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Location: Hard coal region, PA
i'm sure they knew they were getting close.... just not that close. I think they thought they had a couple hundred feet yet or something. Quecreek the mine maps were wrong from the abandoned mine the hit. kindof the same...but they didn't breach any safety zone there I don't think. They just knew the Saxton (i think saxton..) mine was ahead of them a couple hundred feet yet.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:47 pm 
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Location: SW Indiana
Survey methods 50 years ago were not crude by any streach. The location of the active workings and the River were fixed and knowable positions. It would have been different if the river had cut a new channel and overnight moved 200 feet.

It's an academic discussion, but it is one thing to be digging blindly in an area that has no hazzards, another to dig into something that was unknown, and a third to dig into something that everyone knew was close.

Even without GPS, a manual survey can easily get +/- a foot over several miles. A basic three-line transit, rod, pencil and paper would get you with in a space of your living room.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:20 pm 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
they knew it was close. the dept of mines report is not to state blame but to state the facts as they occurred. the company knew where the river was, and the miners knew where the river was. knox was mainly robbing old pa coal co. works but they were driving a new chamber where it broke through, it was supposed to be 124 feet long parallel to the river slope, instead they ran it 260 feet in 11 feet of solid coal. instead of it paralleling the slope, it diverted 23 degrees west, under the river. 125 feet of it being under the redrawn stop line! then knox was granted a request to drive another 125 foot chamber parallel to the first. no boreholed were drilled still. the mine maps were not updated to standards so the company did not know that the 1st new chamber was improperly laid. the second new chamber then was mined 260 feet, not 125 feet, 160 feet of it was under the new drawn stop line. this chamber climbed a vertical distance of 73 feet over a horizontal distance of 160 feet giving it a 30 degree angle, up towards the river! this new chamber came within 75 feet of a borehole showing only 19 inches or top cover. they were then given permission to connect these 2 chambers with 3 cross cuts. to get more production the foreman had them widen one of the cross cuts to 30 feet instead of 12. this is where the river broke through.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 3:43 pm
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Location: Western PA
hey chris, didn't the knox disaster end mining in the northern field?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:32 pm 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
remind me to choke you next time your up da region!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:24 am 
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Location: Mayflower, the capital of Wilkes- Barre
Interestingly I have a 1953 report from the dpt of mines on the buried valley of the susquehanna which explicitly outlines several times the dangers of mining close to the river bed and the potential innundation of quicksand and water and how it would be not only deadly but economically devistating. To read this after the fact knowing the knox disaster happened 6 years later is almost eriee and "nostradomous like" as everything they predicted would happen 6 years earlier did as a result of greed and carelessness.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
The report was very interesting. What makes me wonder about this, lets say they did follow the guides set forward and didn't exceed the area they were suppose to be mining. Given that coal doesn't hold itself up well to rock, it probably would just be a matter of time till the coal spills and lets the river through anyway. Unless it was all properly supported from the bottom.. We all know how many unexpected chutes make their way up to the surface.. And with a heavy river on top always eroding things....

Miner Greg


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:25 pm 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
i dont think it would have because if they stuck to the original stop line they would have never been under the water anyway. where they were in the slope the vein was relativly flat, it only started to anticline up when they got under the river itself. i have a full size copy of the river slope mine map from the pittston and marcy veins somewhere, ill have to dig them out.

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