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posted: 6/21/2014 11:38 AM

Illinois DNR seeking maps of old underground mines

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  • Robert Gibson, the emergency section supervisor at the DNR's Department of Mines and Minerals, looking at maps of old coal mines at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville that are being digitized by the state. Mine maps marked the locations of rooms, pillars and shafts -- necessary then and a valuable tool for state officials, homeowners and developers today because of the damage current structures can sustain if an abandoned mine begins to collapse or sag. But the DNR only has about 2,000 maps for the more than 4,000 separate mines that operated in the state, Gibson said. The state is digitizing those in its archives before they deteriorate, but also is searching for as many missing maps as possible.

      Robert Gibson, the emergency section supervisor at the DNR's Department of Mines and Minerals, looking at maps of old coal mines at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville that are being digitized by the state. Mine maps marked the locations of rooms, pillars and shafts -- necessary then and a valuable tool for state officials, homeowners and developers today because of the damage current structures can sustain if an abandoned mine begins to collapse or sag. But the DNR only has about 2,000 maps for the more than 4,000 separate mines that operated in the state, Gibson said. The state is digitizing those in its archives before they deteriorate, but also is searching for as many missing maps as possible.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- State officials are seeking the public's help to find old maps of long-closed underground coal mines.

The maps help determine whether an area is a risk of subsidence -- holes or sagging that can damage homes and other buildings, like a southern Illinois school that had to be rebuilt five years ago.

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But Department of Natural Resources mine experts say they only have about 2,000 maps for more than 4,000 mines that operated in the state over the past 160 years.

They want to make digital copies before they deteriorate or are destroyed, and believe many are in private hands.

Robert Gibson supervises the emergency section in the DNR's mines and minerals department. He says two-thirds of Illinois was mined for coal, so the risk to structures is widespread.

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