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Retsof Salt Mine Collapse

Retsof, Livingston County, New York
March 12, 1994
No. Killed - 0

The Retsof Salt Mine Collapse  PDF Format (4.3 Mb)
Authors: William M. Kappel, Richard M. Yager, and Todd S. Miller
U.S. Geological Survey, Ithaca, New York

Effects of the 1994 Retsof Salt Mine Collapse  PDF Format
Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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On March 12, 1994, at 5:43 a.m., an apparent earthquake of magnitude 3.6 centered near Cuylerville, New York, woke residents and registered on seismographs 300 miles away.  Prompted by a call placed from a local resident, the USGS National Earthquake Information Center confirmed that a seismic event had occurred near Cuylerville and immediately notified State emergency services offices in New York who, in turn, notified the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department.  The Sheriff’s Department contacted the Retsof Mine, which, except for some limited subsurface maintenance activity, had suspended active mining that weekend.

Mine officials discovered that a 500- by 500-foot section of shale roof rock some 1,200 feet below land surface had collapsed in a part of the mine known as room 2-Yard South.  Mine officials detected methane and hydrogen sulfide gases, and ground water was flowing into the mine from the roof collapse area at nearly 5,000 gallons per minute.

This collapse began a series of events that would eventually lead to the further collapse and complete flooding of the mine, large declines in local ground-water levels, degradation of potable groundwater supplies, land subsidence, release of natural gases (methane and hydrogen sulfide) to the atmosphere, and other detrimental effects on the cultural resources and infrastructure in this part of the Genesee Valley.

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