West Frankfort Quadrangle


Mining in the West Frankfort Quadrangle

The coal in Franklin County contained a lot of gas and explosions killed many people. Zeigler No. 1 (mine index 0053) had one of the worst mine disasters in the state, an explosion that killed 48, with 3 more dying from asphyxiation during rescue attempts. Old Ben Mine No. 11 had a bad explosion, killing 17, in November of 1917. Ventilation was good at the working faces, but gas would accumulate behind stoppings. Factors that contributed to the mines’ problems were open flames in miners lamps and coal dust that would promulgate the explosion throughout the mine. The open flames in the miners lamps were a known hazard, but the introduction of closed lamps caused serious labor antagonism, since the lamps only provided about 2 candlepower of illumination. The gradual development of 100-candlepower lamps eased acceptance of the battery-powered lights. Rock dusting required development also, although the process was known in 1917. Lime dust was often too coarse to apply effectively, highway dust was tried, but it became wet in the mine. Old Ben Coal Company worked aggressively to develop a shale dust and this was used from 1918 until 1928, when lime rock dust became available in paper bags. (John E. Jones, 1954 Coal Report, pages 143-145). Gas explosions killed 375 miners in Franklin County. The worst explosion was in 1951 in the Orient No. 2 Mine, mine index 1951, killing 119. Natural hazards also took down mines, a 1912 tornado destroyed the top works of the Possum Ridge Mine (mine index 0421).

The Herrin Coal was very thick in Franklin County, over 12 feet in some locations. Orient No. 2 Mine (mine index 0366) established a world record of 15,174 tons in 8 hours in 1943.

Old Ben No. 14 (mine index 0665) and Old Ben No. 24 (mine index 0866) had several large faults passing through the workings. These faults are part of the Rend Lake Fault Zone, and had offsets up to 55 feet. For details on the Rend Lake Fault System, see ISGS Circular 513, noted in the Reference section on page 8 of this report.

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Coal Mines In Illinois West Frankfort Quadrangle

Mines that Appear on the West Frankfort Quadrangle

Unlocated Mines

Franklin County

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