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Mining Accidents
Caused by Lightning
 

Explosive gases and accompanying sparks are one of the major causes of mining accidents. Lightning may play a very big part in many mining disasters because of the lack of proper isolation of facilities such as power, communications, and rail.

 

If a single July 2003 thunderstorm in the Northwest (moving from Seattle to Denver ) temporarily terminated 38 PCS working cell sites, what would you expect that same thunderstorm to have been doing to the surface of the earth? Better yet, what would you expect that same thunderstorm to be able to do to mines that have metallic facilities running down into them?

When lightning strikes the earth it looks like rivers of molten lava in the dark of night. This energy is looking for as many paths as it can find to dissipate its energy. Lightning energy follows tree roots, fence lines, and ditches with water in them, so to be sure it will follow metallic paths such as power or communications and most certainly a rail line. If these metallic paths go down into the ground, such as they do in a mining operation, these metallic paths are even a better path for lightning strike energy to dissipate its energy.