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Daily History

May 28 1965 Mine explosion kills hundreds in India


 

On May 28th 1965, methane gas caused a mine explosion near Dharbad, India, that killed 375 people and injured hundreds more. The blast was so powerful that even workers on the surface of the mine were killed.

The mine was located 225 miles northwest of Calcutta near the town of Dharbad and employed hundreds of miners. On this day, a spark ignited methane gas in the mine and caused a huge explosion. Coal dust was sent miles into the air and an entire section of the large mine completely collapsed. Two hundred and seventy-five miners never made it out alive. The explosion also killed approximately 100 workers who were above ground but near the mine and destroyed several homes in the area. A fire in the mine shaft raged for many days after the blast.

Methane gas is a common hazard in mining. It is lighter than air so it usually rises out of the mine shaft. However, significant pockets often get trapped underground and, when it combines with coal dust, the gas is extremely combustible. Typically, mines use gas detectors to make sure the levels of methane gas are not dangerous. They also add rock dust (finely ground limestone) to mix with the coal dust to make it non-explosive. However, the state of this technology in 1965 was far from foolproof and failed to prevent this disaster.

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “May 28 1965 Mine explosion kills hundreds in India

  1. love the history posts, thank you
    very interesting. try to include some history in my geo site but with the govts all trying to blow up the place, is not always time. thinking with current events in afghanistan a vietnam piece for Memorial Day is fitting 😉
    thanks again

    Posted by carinaragno | May 28, 2012, 12:31
  2. Craig, both my Grandad and my step-dad worked in mines and I know how truly dangerous they can be.

    Posted by jazfagan | May 28, 2012, 12:59
  3. My great great grandfather and uncle were killed in a mining accident in Scotland. So, I always pray for those who died now, and in the past from mining accidents. RIP.

    Posted by Catholic Glasses | May 28, 2012, 14:13
  4. Can’t recall this … terrible accident – I have always wondered how they do it … work down there in those black holes. Very interesting read. Thanks

    Posted by viveka | May 28, 2012, 22:43
  5. yes…a terrible accident. I agree it would be awful to work in a black hole. I’m glad there is rock dust and hopefully other protections. What are some of the newer technologies designed to protect miners?

    Posted by Brook | May 29, 2012, 02:11

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