The following from the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement
1991 Airphoto Showing Surface Developments & Sag Subsidence
Urban Growth Meets Abandoned Mine Lands
The city limits of Springfield, Illinois, have expanded over old underground
coal mines. Subsidence went unnoticed for decades and modern developments
obscured all evidence of past mining activity including the old sinkholes.
In the late 1990s, several big-box superstores and a hotel were constructed over
the underground mine. The areas in between the sinkholes could collapse at
any time causing damage to buildings, injuring people, and/or disrupting public
utility transmission. Abandoned underground mines are not in the inventory
until subsidence occurs and causes an imminent threat to public safety or
Potential hazards exist in many communities across the country. Usually there
are no limitations on land use or city growth in these areas and people living
and working in the area have no awareness that a hazard exists until a
potentially dangerous event occurs.
2005 DOQ Showing Surface Developments & All Suspected Sag Subsidence
Plausible Concern, But Where?
The story seems to describe Springfield, Illinois quite well, but after comparing the photographs in the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement document with Google Earth images of Springfield, Illinois a match could not be found. Where on Earth were the before and after photos taken? If any of my readers know, please post your comments.
In the mean time I recommend caution to all those working, or shopping at any of Springfield, Illinois' Big Box Stores - you might just get sucked into an abandoned coal mine!
Being sucked into an abyss is already a concern that many living in the Springfield, Illinois area have considering that their home may be located over abandoned coal mines. Then again many would argue that living in Springfield, Illinois is so similar to being sucked into an abyss that few would notice the difference.