Grade School in Benld Affected by Mine Subsidence

Robert Bauer was interviewed on March 30, 2009, during a live radio show in southwestern Illinois about a relatively new grade school in Benld, Illinois, that was affected by coal mine subsidence. Bauer provided general information on coal mine subsidence over abandoned mines and mentioned the availability of relevant coal mine subsidence publications, maps, and information on the Illinois State Geological Survey Web site. The sag is over the Superior Coal mine and is about 700 feet across according to the Office of Mines and Minerals. The school is mostly in the tensile zone of the sag. The tensile zone is found near the outside edge of the depression where the ground bends downward into the depression. This bending causes the ground surface to crack open with ground motions moving toward the center of the depression. Any structure located in this area is pulled apart. The school district canceled school on Monday, March 30, 2009, and probably will abandon the building for the rest of the school year. Evaluation of this plan is ongoing. The Office of Mines and Minerals indicated that five homes are also being affected.