Mining Methods

Mining Methods (HM1YRW)

Location: Carbondale, PA 18407 Lackawanna County
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Country: United States of America
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N 41° 33.198', W 75° 29.695'

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Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway

You are standing on the southeastern side of the Lackawanna Valley. In this area the valley is about 5 miles (8 kilometers) wide. Behind you, Moosic Mountain rises some 1,200 feet (366 meters) above the elevation of the Lackawanna River in the bottom of the valley. Although very little coal is currently being mined in this area, environmental reclamation efforts continue.
Strip Mining
Strip mining was done in areas where coal seams were found close to the ground surface. Soil and rock located on top of the seam, called the overburden, were removed with a dragline or large stripping shovel before mining began. Strip mining was practiced in the Lackawanna Valley as early as 1919, but was not economically important until World War II. By 1959 it accounted for half of the anthracite mined from the Lackawanna Valley.
Deep Shaft Mining
Vertical shafts were used to obtain coal from deeply-buried seams. Once a shaft reached a coal seam, mining operations extended horizontally in all directions along the seam. The first local shaft mine was established in 1843. Deep shaft mining became the primary mining technique used in this area. You may visit a re-creation of an active mine at the Anthracite Museum in Scranton.
Drift Mining
Drift mining was done in areas where coal could be obtained by digging
a relatively short level tunnel, or "drift," directly into a seam, typically on a hill side. The coal was often exposed on the surface. Until the 1840s drift mining was the only technique used in this area. One such drift opening is located beneath this spot.
[Marker background illustration]
This is a cross-section of the Lackawanna Valley looking toward Carbondale. In this area anthracite coal was found in relatively level, undulating layers called seams. As many as eight anthracite coal seams typically ranged in thickness from 2 feet (0.6 meter) to 12 feet (3.7 meters).
Placed ByPennsylvania Dept of Transportation and the Federal Highway Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 at 9:03pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 458726 N 4600299
Decimal Degrees41.55330000, -75.49491667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 33.198', W 75° 29.695'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 33' 11.88" N, 75° 29' 41.7" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)570
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near US-6, Carbondale PA 18407, US
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