Do you think you have heard horrible things? Then you should visit Centralia, Pennsylvania. This abandoned ghost town has had a fire burning underground for over 50 years! Due to constant spontaneous combustion and oxidation, this mysterious old coal mine is completely out of control!
The town literally burning for more than 50 years!
There is a small town in Pennsylvania that has been burning since 1962. That’s over 50 years! What? How is that even possible?
So the issue is that Centralia, Pennsylvania is on top of some of the biggest coal deposits in the world. In the 1800s miners blasted tunnels underground and then abandoned them about 100 years later.
No one really knows what exactly caused the fire but the strongest theory is that some burning trash from a landfill accidentally lit the coal near an old entrance to the mine. Yeah, this isn’t fog, it’s smoke.
Since sometimes coal deposits are under a lot of pressure, it can even ignite without a flame. The oxygen from the empty tunnels created the perfect conditions for the fire to spread.
The flames started going deeper and deeper into the surrounding area as more coal burned, and the tunnels continue to take oxygen down from the surface. It is now in a vicious, fiery cycle that is now about 300 feet deep.
Coal burns slow and steady and can take ages to burn out. As long as there is enough heat, fuel, and oxygen to keep it going, there’s nothing you can do.
They actually tried to put it out by drilling holes into the mine and pouring wet sand down to block off the air supply but it didn’t work. It might not seem like such a big deal since the fire is underground but it really is. The 1000 residents probably didn’t think that is was a big deal either until sulfurous fumes and carbon monoxide almost suffocated everyone in their home.
The underground fire fractured the ground making sink holes all over the place. A 12-year-old almost fell in one in 1981.
The roads are also affected and have smoke coming out of them!
The last time they tried to put it out was in the 1980’s but since then everyone’s just given up.
Today about 12 people live in Centralia and it’s a very popular destination for graffiti artists. Check out this artwork all over the road. It also draws UFO seekers…
The fire covers 6 square miles and spreads 75 feet every year.
While this might seem like a freak accident, this kind of fires is actually pretty common. There are mine fires burning in Wyoming, Australia, Germany, and many other parts of the world. India and China have the most serious problems with hundreds of abandoned mines all over the country.
Coal mine fires can burn for centuries and it is estimated that the Central fire could burn for another 250 years!