Monday, February 11, 2008

Coal Mine Opened in Morgantown

There's a new "cave" in Monongalia County. It appears to have recently opened up, and is located very visibly next to a main road right inside Morgantown.

A small graded hill, literally on the side of the road, contains a slumped opening about 10 feet wide and 3 feet tall. The ceiling beam appears to be made of a muddy sandstone, while the "cave" itself appears to be formed in a crumbly, shaley seam of coal. The entrance slopes down and back for at least 20 feet and continues out of sight; the passage is at least 4 feet high. Another passage may go to the right from the entrance. The floor is completely covered by shattered coal talus.

My assumption is that this was a very old coal mine which was simply graded over when the area was developed. Recent construction combined with heavy rains this week may have caused the entrance to slump open. It appears rather dangerous, and given its highly-accessible location, should probably be gated or filled very soon.

The helmet in the following photos is for scale only, I did not enter, and I do not recommend entering this mine.

Edit: The mine entrance was posted as state property "no tespassing" a week later, and then filled in by the DoH(?) in early March.

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