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Underground fire has burned for 6,000 years

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A subterranean coal seam fire in Australia has been burning continuously for more than six millennia.

The region is known as 'Burning Mountain', a hill North of Sydney that was first documented by European explorers. Originally believed to be volcanic in nature, the smoke rising from the ground on the hill wasn't recognized as a coal seam fire until 1829.

Read More: http://www.unexplain...-for-6000-years

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anyone got a couple of thousands buckets of water??

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Well I just hope 'they' are making use of it as a power source, but its probably in the wrong place or something to make it not cost effective..sigh must be giving off a lot of smoke?

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Don't let Obama hear about it! He will shut it down. :)

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Or fine Australia for it.

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anyone got a couple of thousands buckets of water??

They tried drowning a coal mine fire in America. Didn't work. Once started, they just have to burn themselves out - and that can take a L-O-N-G time.

Doug

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They tried drowning a coal mine fire in America. Didn't work. Once started, they just have to burn themselves out - and that can take a L-O-N-G time.

Doug

Is there not a chemical or material known to man that can permanently stop it? Surely there is a way?

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Is there not a chemical or material known to man that can permanently stop it? Surely there is a way?

Well... if they have to burn themselves out I suppose we could always just make them burner faster maybe?

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I love this country, I really do.

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May as well make use of it........"chuck another billion shrimps on the Barbie"

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Posted (edited)

Is there not a chemical or material known to man that can permanently stop it? Surely there is a way?

The problem is that the fire is burning underground. There are things that could stop it, but we can't get them to were they need to be without digging up the entire region. Many towns have had to evacuate due to unstoppable underground coal fires undermining the town and resulting in fissures and sinkholes. Centralia, in the USA, even helped inspire the designers of the town in the Silent Hill series.

Edited by aquatus1
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Posted (edited)

Well... if they have to burn themselves out I suppose we could always just make them burner faster maybe?

Hmmm...not sure about that. Could be some serious safety concerns in trying to do that. Seems kinda iffy to me.

The problem is that the fire is burning underground. There are things that could stop it, but we can't get them to were they need to be without digging up the entire region. Many towns have had to evacuate due to unstoppable underground coal fires undermining the town and resulting in fissures and sinkholes. Centralia, in the USA, even helped inspire the designers of the town in the Silent Hill series.

Yeah I read about the evacuation of a couple of towns because of this. But deep drilling into the worse underground locations won't work? You know - to get to those underground locations and then try to fix the problem that way.

Maybe it's because it's too costly to do that, right?

Edited by Purifier

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I've often wondered if they burn underground how does the oxygen to feed the fire get down there?

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China fought one coal fire for over a hundred years before they put it out.

I wonder how much effect these fires are having on the climate.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah I read about the evacuation of a couple of towns because of this. But deep drilling into the worse underground locations won't work? You know - to get to those underground locations and then try to fix the problem that way.

Maybe it's because it's too costly to do that, right?

Well, yeah, cost is a factor, and when you consider the cost of relocating a town being the cheaper alternative, you get an idea of what we are up against. Add to that that most methods of extinguishing would render the coal fairly useless, and you have a major demotivator.

But it isn't just cost. A coal seam is a huge thing. It wanders and meanders in a way we aren't accustomed to considering. Next time you are in a hilly area, look around and imagine that there was a layer of coal ranging from an inch to several feet contoured over everything, and extend that out to roughly the size of a couple of football fields. As you can see, just deciding where to drill would be a difficult task, let alone drill access to a sufficient extent that would allow you to effectively eliminate the smoulder.

Another problem is that making access point could even make the fire worse. Underground, a seam smolders along, trying to survive with the minor whispers of oxygen it can suck out of the cracks in the stone. The heat is fairly intense (because it is basically a huge kiln), but the lack of oxygen keeps it from growing beyond a certain point. But suddenly, it gets access to an open source of oxygen and Boom, away it goes. More than one mining company has exposed a seam only to have this occur (coal can self-ignite in conditions no one would expect it to).

Very few coal seam fires merit the amount of money, time, and effort, it would take to extinguish them, even if such a thing were possible (I'm not completely convinced it is). China...yeah, China claimed that it extinguished Urumqui fire, but...there have been witnesses claiming that it is still burning as bright as ever. Considering China's track record on such things...

Which is not to say that the entire situation is inevitable and impossible to deal with. Near Surface fires comprise about half of coal seam fires, and they can be extinguished in a relatively affordable and relatively secure fashion. China is, to their credit, particularly good at this, possibly balancing out their standing as one of the countries with the highest rate of coal mine fires to begin with.

Edited by aquatus1
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Is there not a chemical or material known to man that can permanently stop it? Surely there is a way?

There have been several in Pennsylvania over the years. One at Centralia, PA is burning right now. There was one started by Molly Maguires back in the 1880s that was still going in the 1980s. Far as I know, the only way two ways to fight them that have ever been tried are: 1. Flooding the mine and 2. sealing the mine to cut off oxgen. Neither worked. There's also a coal seam fire burning in Siberia right now.

Doug

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Well, yeah, cost is a factor, and when you consider the cost of relocating a town being the cheaper alternative, you get an idea of what we are up against. Add to that that most methods of extinguishing would render the coal fairly useless, and you have a major demotivator.

But it isn't just cost. A coal seam is a huge thing. It wanders and meanders in a way we aren't accustomed to considering. Next time you are in a hilly area, look around and imagine that there was a layer of coal ranging from an inch to several feet contoured over everything, and extend that out to roughly the size of a couple of football fields. As you can see, just deciding where to drill would be a difficult task, let alone drill access to a sufficient extent that would allow you to effectively eliminate the smoulder.

Another problem is that making access point could even make the fire worse. Underground, a seam smolders along, trying to survive with the minor whispers of oxygen it can suck out of the cracks in the stone. The heat is fairly intense (because it is basically a huge kiln), but the lack of oxygen keeps it from growing beyond a certain point. But suddenly, it gets access to an open source of oxygen and Boom, away it goes. More than one mining company has exposed a seam only to have this occur (coal can self-ignite in conditions no one would expect it to).

Very few coal seam fires merit the amount of money, time, and effort, it would take to extinguish them, even if such a thing were possible (I'm not completely convinced it is). China...yeah, China claimed that it extinguished Urumqui fire, but...there have been witnesses claiming that it is still burning as bright as ever. Considering China's track record on such things...

Which is not to say that the entire situation is inevitable and impossible to deal with. Near Surface fires comprise about half of coal seam fires, and they can be extinguished in a relatively affordable and relatively secure fashion. China is, to their credit, particularly good at this, possibly balancing out their standing as one of the countries with the highest rate of coal mine fires to begin with.

I see. I never understood before, why we couldn't put them out. But you've enlighten me a little bit on the subject. Thanks. :tu:

There have been several in Pennsylvania over the years. One at Centralia, PA is burning right now. There was one started by Molly Maguires back in the 1880s that was still going in the 1980s. Far as I know, the only way two ways to fight them that have ever been tried are: 1. Flooding the mine and 2. sealing the mine to cut off oxgen. Neither worked. There's also a coal seam fire burning in Siberia right now.

Doug

Good God! It's like an endless cycle. All that can't be good for the environment? :no:

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China fought one coal fire for over a hundred years before they put it out.

I wonder how much effect these fires are having on the climate.

don't tell Gore. this makes one heck of a carbon footprint. *Literally*

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Posted (edited)

We have the smoking hills at Bathurst too. Been at it for centuries as well.

Indigenous legend says they are the fiery tears of a woman long since turned to stone by Biami, the sky god.

Other places have them too, I am sure I saw a thread on the door to hell here at UM last year.

Edited by psyche101
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There's also a coal seam fire burning in Siberia right now.

Maybe some welcomed warmth.

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Posted (edited)

There is an underground coal fire still burning in the Pennsylvania mining town of Centralia, now a ghost town. You can read about it here: http://www.roadsidea....com/story/2196

Edited by Rob008
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Well if this was a Sy-Fy T.V. movie the milatary would simply bomb the whole area with nuclear warheads and save the day !

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Well if this was a Sy-Fy T.V. movie the milatary would simply bomb the whole area with nuclear warheads and save the day !

Or sudden climate change would freeze everything in a couple hours.

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Good God! It's like an endless cycle. All that can't be good for the environment? :no:

The ones burning in Pennsylvania are all less than 100 years old. There was one near Durango, Colorado that burned into the 1960s. The one in Siberia - nobody knows how old it is.

Doug

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