Environmental hazards caused by the extraction of coal from the earth; Landowners have been extracting coal by strip mining and underground mining since the late 1700s. This legacy has created landscapes that resemble a barren moonscape, but exist right here in America. A list of AML features is available here. Abandoned mine lands are abundant in the Appalachian Mountain Region, specifically in the Anthracite and Bituminous Coal Fields of Pennsylvania. Mines shut down before 1971 are considered “Pre-Act” mines and exempt the coal companies from cleaning up the mess they left behind.
Above is a panorama of the Whaleback formation within the abandoned Bear Valley Strip Mine in the Shamokin Creek watershed, Northumberland County, PA. The Whaleback is of interest to geologists from all over the country and is a great place to go fossil hunting. It is also a favorite dumping ground for locals.
Want to see more pictures of AML? Visit our Photo Gallery.
To view the Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System (AMLIS) of problem areas, please visit the Office of Surface Mining’s website. EPCAMR has also produced a Reclaimed Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System (RAMLIS) GIS Tool. More information on the tool is available here.
EPCAMR advises anyone thinking of approaching these sites to Stay Out, Stay Alive! The ground is often unstable.
Below is an informational video describing the dangers of abandoned mine lands.