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Mine fire diagnostics to locate and monitor abandoned mine fires.

Justin-TR; Kim-AG
Mine Drainage and Surface Mine Reclamation. Volume II: Mine Reclamation, Abandoned Mine Lands and Policy Issues. Vol. II. Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Bureau of Mines, 1988 Apr; :348-355
Locating a fire in an abandoned underground coal mine or waste bank is difficult using currently available methods. The Bureau of Mines is developing a mine fire diagnostic methodology to locate and monitor such fires. The method is based upon two assumptions: (1) that measurable changes in the emission of low molecular weight hydrocarbons from coal occur as a direct result of changes in temperature, and (2) that controlling the direction of the underground gas flow between borehole sampling points provides the means for locating the source of these hydrocarbons. This mine fire diagnostic method has been applied at three field sites. It was used to define combustion zones at an abandoned underground bituminous mine at Renton, PA. At this 60-acre site, which showed several areas of venting, the technique was used to delineate three noncontiguous combustion areas totaling approximately 10 acres. It was also used to follow the progress of the extinguishment effort. At Carbondale, PA, the method was used to locate heated areas in an abandoned anthracite mine. In this test, changes in the concentration of methane during communication testing were used as the combustion indicator. The mine fire diagnostic method is currently being used to define the combustion area at an abandoned bituminous mine in Large, PA.
Mine-fires; Mining-industry; Underground-mining; Coal-mining; Monitoring-systems
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Mine Drainage and Surface Mine Reclamation. Volume II: Mine Reclamation, Abandoned Mine Lands and Policy Issues
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division