Coal mine explosion, 19th century

Coal mine explosion, 19th century

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Coal mine explosion. 19th-century artwork of an explosion in a coal mine. This explosion has been caused by blasting powder, which was used to break up the rocks. A common cause of accidents was pouring the powder into the blasting hole, instead of using cartridges. Powder on the sides of the hole would be ignited by the action of the tamping bar used to pack down the powder. The explosion could blind, disfigure or kill the miners. This was one of many dangers faced by 19th-century coal miners. Engraving by Gauchard-Brunier, published in Mines and Miners (L. Simonin, 1868).

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