Report suspected abandoned coal mine land features


Stay Out and Stay Alive

WASHINGTON – Across the country, there are thousands of abandoned coal mine sites. While enjoying the great outdoors this summer, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement reminds you to stay out of abandoned coal mines that you may happen upon.

Hidden amongst the trees and obscured by ferns, this shaft opening is 7 feet by 2 feet and more than 100-feet deep. The soils around the opening are not stable.

Abandoned coal mine sites are dangerous and contain features with the potential to be extremely hazardous. Coal mine subsidence can create openings to underground workings that may be obscured by overgrown vegetation. Mine entries often contain dangerous gasses. For your safety,

do not explore it; stay out and stay alive.

If you hear or see a person or animal trapped in a mine feature, do not attempt a rescue. Call for help! Don’t become a statistic!

Abandoned Coal Mine Land Feature Safety Problems

Open shafts are vertical mine openings that can extend hundreds of feet to the lower level of a mine. Open shafts can be concealed by mine debris, dirt, rock, vegetation and even water.

Deadly gases and lack of oxygen can be present in abandoned mines that are not ventilated. Pockets of methane, carbon dioxide, and other deadly gases can form. These pockets of gas may be volatile or simply displace oxygen with no visible sign.

High walls and open pits are located where large areas of the surface have been disturbed to get at minerals near the surface. Open pits can be filled with water that can be highly acidic or laden with harmful chemicals. High walls can be unstable at the top and the bottom and are prone to collapse or disguised by vegetation obscuring the steep drop-off.

Report AML Features

To report the location of an abandoned coal mine land feature in states within OSMRE Regions 1 & 2, send an email to:

  • Kentucky, Tennessee & Georgia – Donald R. Hall, supervisory program specialist;
  • West Virginia & Virginia – Philip Rodney Baker, supervisory program specialist;
  • Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan & Rhode Island – Douglas M. DePellegrini, program analyst;