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Tri-state Mining Area

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[Note: Appendices are not available on the web at this time. Also, photos in this chapter have not been scanned because of their poor quality.]

The findings of this investigation have been mapped on three plates for each of the three 7 1/2 minute quadrangles which are included in this report. These three plates are designated Plate I-A, I-B, I-C; Plate II-A, II-B, II-C; and Plate III-A, III-B, III-C. A, B, and C refer to the Crestline, Neutral, and Baxter Springs quadrangles, respectively. Additional data have been gathered for most of the features mapped and appear in tabulations in the appendices. The following is a discussion of the three accompanying sets of plates with emphasis on the mine-related hazards they portray. Frequent references will also be made to Table 3 which tallies the number of shafts, hazardous shafts, open pits, and adits in the different mining areas of the Kansas Tri-State. For the purposes of this report, the plates cover only the 7 1/2 minute U.S. Geological Survey quadrangles that are totally in Kansas, namely Crestline, Neutral, and Baxter Springs. The narrow strips of Kansas falling on quadrangles that lie mostly in Missouri and Oklahoma are shown on the corresponding plates in the Missouri and Oklahoma reports, and features falling in these strips are tabulated in the reports of both bordering states.

Table 3--Summary of hazards in the Kansas Tri-State mining area.

Mining Area Adits Open
Waco 0 0 24 3 10 13 37 42
Lawton 0 0 9 0 5 5 14 33
Badger-Peacock 0 1 7 5 20 25 33 141
Crestline 0 0 5 0 15 15 20 23
Treece 0 0 17 18 62 80 97 189
Baxter Springs 0 0 36 11 63 74 110 151
Galena 6 7 209 11 366 377 599 2,966
Totals 6 8 307 48 541 589 910 3,545

Plate I--Underground Mines and Shafts

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This plate is a compilation of all known underground workings and mine-shaft locations for the study area. Known Kansas mine workings underlie approximately 900 hectares (2220 acres). Undermined area determinations for the various parts of the study area are listed in Table 4. As mentioned in the section entitled "Information Sources and Study Methods," mine maps from a number of sources were used in the production of this map. However, mine maps are not available for some mining areas. This is particularly true for Galena where mine maps were either not made or were lost over the years. Some of the other old areas of mining such as Badger-Peacock have spotty information on the extent of mining. Some old mines appear to have been sketched rather than accurately mapped since mine maps of different dates of the same mine sometimes show different outlines of underground mines. With time, the quality of mapping improved in the Tri-State and the best quality maps of Kansas mining are for those mines in the Picher field, namely the Baxter Springs and Treece mining areas.

Table 4--Mining-affected areas in the Kansas Tri-State

Mining Area Approximate area covered by
mine and mill waste
Approximate area of known
underground mining
Hectares Acres Hectares Acres
Waco 61 150 35 85
Lawton 8 19 5 11
Badger-Peacock 11 27 16 41
Crestline 18 45 14 34
Treece 302 747 515 1,273
Baxter Springs 182 449 215 530
Galena 361 891 100 246
Totals 943 2,328 900 2,220

Mines in the Picher field as well as mines elsewhere often operated on more than one level. Maps for such mines, even when prepared at small scales, can become very complex due to the overlapping crenulated outlines of the various working levels. The mine outlines shown on Plate I are, therefore, the outermost extent of all workings regardless of the mining level. Underground mining was conducted using room and pillar mining, and many pillars and larger "islands" of unmined rock are shown on some detailed mine maps. Most pillars are too small to show on Plate I. In addition, there is some doubt about their existence following the shut-down of the mines. Only the larger unmined areas are shown on Plate I. The transference of mine workings from detailed mine maps with scales as small as 1:120 to the maps in this report having a scale of 1:24,000 necessitated some generalizations. As a result, the extent of underground mining, as shown on Plate I, should be regarded as approximate.

The intense mining activity in the Galena vicinity has resulted in a large number of mine features in a small area. An attempt was made to show as much information as possible in the Galena area on Plate I-C; however, the scale of 1:24,000 negated showing it all. In some cases, mine shafts and other features are too closely spaced to portray with symbols. These areas have been outlined on the plates and have annotations indicating the number of features contained in the outlined area. To augment the plates in this report, enlarged maps of the Galena area have been made to show certain mine features. These maps were prepared for 7 sections: 11, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, and 27 in T.34S., R.25E. at a scale of 1:12,000 and are included in Appendix B. Enlarged maps of the Galena area, showing only the known extent of the underground mining, are presented in figures B-1 to B-7. Mines on these maps which appear incomplete actually reflect the incomplete coverage of this area with available mine maps; and additional areas not shown as being mined may actually be undermined, but could not be found on any available maps.

Mine-shaft locations in Plate I were compiled from two sources: mine maps, and the 1981 aerial photography. As in the case of mine workings, shaft locations are better portrayed on the mine maps prepared for the later mining areas, namely Baxter Springs and Treece. Mine shafts were mapped regardless of their purpose, depth, or present condition. As can be seen in Plate I-C, there are a large number of mine shafts mapped in Galena and the surrounding area. Many of these shafts, especially those in outlying areas, are actually prospect shafts that were sunk in the early days of mining when shafting was the primary means of exploration. For the purposes of this investigation, which is primarily concerned with mapping hazards, no distinction was made between prospect shafts and production shafts. Without a complete knowledge of the extent of underground workings, such distinction would be difficult to make. Most of the shafts mapped in the Galena area and some of the other old mining areas were found using the 1981 aerial photography. Many mine shafts in Galena are still open and these were easily detected. Those that have been filled are also detectable because of small piles of debris surrounding the site of the shaft and because the filling material has compacted over the years creating a small depression at the site of the shaft.

The 1981 photography was also used to corroborate the existance and location of many mine shafts shown on the various mine maps used in compiling Plate I. Shaft locations in the Picher field and other areas outside of Galena were often found on both the mine maps and the aerial photography. Their existence on the photography could be interpreted by a number of means. In some cases, as in Galena, the shafts were still open or filled and slightly subsided; in other cases, the existence of a shaft could be determined by large boulder piles nearby composed of "bull rock" which was excavated in sinking the shaft. Filled shaft sites could also be located by the presence of the concrete foundations that once supported the hoisting apparatus in the shaft. Other mine shafts, which were more completely reclaimed, could be found by the association of scars on the ground marking the former presence of waste piles. In some instances, mine shafts shown on mine maps could not be found on the aerial photography. This usually was due to the shafts being completely covered over by large chat piles or being effectively reclaimed.

As shown in Table 3, 3,545 mine shafts have been mapped in the Kansas Tri-State. This number should be considered approximate. A large portion of these shafts occur in the Galena area.

Plate II--Open Shafts, Pits, and Subsidences

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Plate II is essentially a compilation of all the mine hazards found in the Kansas Tri-State. Included in these hazards are open mine shafts, open pit mines, and areas of mine collapse. Nearly all of these features were found by study of the 1981 photography. Older dates of photography were used to locate mine collapses and place time brackets on the date of their occurrence. All these features were visited in the field where additional data were gathered which appears in the tabulations. Photographs were taken of many of these features as well. Hazardous mine shafts, adits, and open-pit mines have been numbered within each square mile of the study area. By referring to Table C-1 in Appendix C, additional information can be found for each of these features under the appropriate township, range, section, and assigned number. Surface collapses are numbered separately in each section and are tabulated along with additional information in Table C-2 in Appendix C. Mine hazards in the seven sections comprising the Galena area are mapped and numbered on 1:12,000 maps of each section which appear in Appendix B.

As shown in Table 3, 589 hazardous open shafts were found in the study area. A mine shaft was judged to be hazardous if it could cause injury or entrapment to a person, especially an older person or a young child who falls into it. Many mine shafts are filled or closed off at various depths. The extent of potential injury to a person falling in generally increases with the depth of the shaft. The depth at which a mine shaft was judged to become dangerous is about 3 meters (10 feet). Although a reasonably healthy adult may survive such a fall and be able to climb back out, a small child or an elderly person may not be so fortunate. Since many of these shafts are in isolated areas, cries for help from their victims may go unanswered. Many shafts contain water to various depths below the surface, including some with water at or close to the surface. If the water depth was more than 1.2 meters (4 feet) or enough to be over the head of a small child, it was judged to be hazardous.

Of the 589 hazardous shafts found, 541 are collapsed shafts; the remaining 48 are open but not collapsed (Table 3). Each type of shaft is shown with the same open mine shaft symbol unless it is collapsed to such an extent as to be shown enclosing the shaft symbol on the map. Most shafts were originally cribbed with timbers or boards and shafts in the later mines often had concrete collars at their tops. Over the years weather and decay have taken their toll on the shaft cribbing and only in a few mine shafts is it still intact. The lack of support around the mine opening has allowed caving and collapse of the near-surface rocks and soil. The result is a circular shaft opening with a diameter that is usually several times the dimensions of the original shaft. Generally the larger the shaft opening at the surface, the more apparent is the potential hazard to a person approaching on foot. The hazard of an uncollapsed open shaft is not realized until a person is standing at the very edge of the shaft opening.

In addition to the large number of open shafts found, 6 adits or horizontal mine entrances were also found (Table 3). These are found in section 27, T.34S., R.25E. just southwest of Galena. Eight open pits were also mapped in the Kansas Tri-State. Open-pit mining was not widespread in the Tri-State district, but did occur in areas where ore was present close to the surface. Mapping open-pit mines from aerial photos is difficult because they often have the same appearance as mine collapses. In fact, in at least two instances, open-pit mining was a direct result of mine cave-ins. In Galena in 1902 and in the Badger-Peacock area in 1910, large cave-ins occurred. However, these mines were too rich to be abandoned and continued to be worked in open-pit fashion (6, p.90). Today, most open-pit mines are filled with water and their sides have weathered and slumped over the years, giving them the appearance of the many mine cave-ins in the study area.

A total of 307 (Table 3) subsidences have been mapped in the study area. These features range in size from small depressions a few meters in diameter to huge collapses hundreds of meters across. Surface collapses are particularly numerous in the Galena area where mining was shallow and pillars were routinely robbed. Some instances of subsidence have occurred in the past and have been reclaimed or corrected and are no longer apparent. These are shown with small triangles on Plate II. Surface collapses that are still present are shown to their full extent where possible.

The danger of surface depressions resulting from mine collapse varies considerably with the nature of the collapse. In some cases, slight subsidence has created shallow depressions on the surface that present no immediate danger. Collapses that are more catastrophic in nature can create large holes in the ground that are often rubble-filled and partially flooded. The hazard in these cave-ins is determined by their depth and the steepness of their slopes. Perhaps the most hazardous cave-ins are those that have occurred over large rooms which are then open to the surface as a result of the collapse. Regardless of the present personal danger posed by surface collapses, subsidence of any form represents a history of instability, and areas containing subsidences should all be considered susceptible to further collapse and therefore potentially hazardous. At least three cave-ins occurred during the course of this study and after the acquisition of aerial photography in February of 1981. One of these, number 4 in section 34, T.34S., R.24E., is just northwest of Baxter Springs and the other two, numbers 79 and 80 in section 14, T.34S., R.25E., occurred on Galena city property, very close to the Municipal Government Complex. These collapses occurred in old mining areas and it thus appears that the passage of time has failed to bring stability to the underground mines.

The totals for the various types of hazards found in the study area and mapped on Plate II are tallied in Table 3. The total number of shafts as mapped in Plate I are also shown. In addition, subtotals of the various mine hazards are shown for the seven mining areas of the Kansas Tri-State which are briefly described in the introduction. The following is a discussion of the magnitude and extent of mine hazards found in each of these seven areas.


The Waco mining area straddles the Missouri state line northeast of the village of Lawton. A small part of this area appears on Plate II-A on the Crestline, Kansas, 7 1/2 minute quadrangle; however, most of the mine features and hazards are on the Carl Junction, Missouri-Kansas quadrangle and thus appear in the Missouri report. This area contains 13 hazardous shafts, all but 2 of which are collapsed (Table 3). They range in depth from 3 meters (10 feet) to nearly 30 meters (100 feet) in the case of shaft number 4. A total of 24 surface collapses also occur here, however, these are generally less than 12 meters (40 feet) deep and most have chat bottoms with some containing water. Some surface collapses occur along the state line and are used by local residents as trash dumps. The state line road in this area has been rerouted to avoid these large holes and passes along their edges in both states. Mining depths in this area range from 26 meters (85 feet) down to 100 meters (330 feet).


The Lawton area lies just south of the village of Lawton and contains 14 mine hazards (Table 3), most of which occur in section 35, T.32S., R.25E. Nine of these hazards are surface collapses with depths ranging from less than 3 meters (10 feet) in the smaller collapses to 14 meters (45 feet) in the largest collapse (No. 1). This large collapse at times has water in the bottom and is used as a local trash dump. The five hazardous shafts in this area generally are less than 6 meters (20 feet) deep; however, one (No. 5) is about 9 meters (30 feet) deep to water.


The Badger-Peacock area occurs along the Spring River near the Missouri state line on the Crestline quadrangle. A total of 33 hazards were found in this area. Nine surface collapses were found, all occurring east of the Spring River in its valley. These collapses as well as a number of collapsed shafts that also occur in the valley are filled with water. The largest body of water in this area is actually an open-pit mine (No. 1) that began operation in 1910 after a mine collapse (6, p. 90). According to the landowner, the water in this mine is very deep--in places over 18 meters (60 feet)--and at least one drowning death has occurred here. West of the Spring River in sections 23, 24, and 25, T.33S., R.25E., all the hazards are shafts, all but four of which are collapsed. These shafts are all less than 8 meters (25 feet) deep and most have water at the bottom. An isolated uncollapsed shaft is also located in section 11, T.33S., R.25E. This shaft, when visited, contained water to within 5 meters (15 feet) of the surface. Mining depths in this area ranged from 27 meters (90 feet) down to 54 meters (176 feet).


The Crestline area is in sections 15, 16, and 22 in T.33S., R.25E. just to the east of the village of Crestline and on the quadrangle of the same name. In all, 20 mine hazards were found in this area, five of which are surface collapses located in section 15. One of these collapses is very small, but the other four are up to 18 meters (60 feet) deep and numbers 3 and 4 are quite hazardous. Collapse number 5 has had a ramp dug to its bottom and is used to water cattle. The 20 collapsed shafts in the Crestline area are generally shallow (less than 6 meters (20 feet) or are filled with water to near the surface. Two collapsed shafts numbers 7 and 8 in section 15 are very hazardous--measuring about 24 meters (80 feet) to water. Shaft number 8 is near an east-west county road and, as seen in Figure 3, is in a densely vegetated area. Across the road in section 22 is another collapsed shaft (No. 2), which is shown in Figure 4. This feature is about 18 meters (60 feet) deep and is used as a trash dump. Its hazard is increased by its proximity to the road. Crestline area mining depths range from 21 meters (70 feet) down to 64 meters (210 feet).


The Treece area begins about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) east of the town of Treece and extends on west. It is covered by the Neutral quadrangle in Plate II-B; however, a small strip near the state line is on the Miami northwest, Oklahoma-Kansas and the Picher, Oklahoma-Kansas quadrangles and is covered by the Oklahoma report. A total of 97 mine hazards were found in this area and most (79) are shafts (Table 3). Although there are only 17 surface collapses in this fairly large area of intense mining, some of these are quite large. The largest collapse in the Treece area occurs along the course of Tar Creek (No. 1) in section 2, T.355., R.23E. This collapse is 70 meters (230 feet) by 130 meters (430 feet) and is about 18 meters (60 feet) deep. Figure 5 is a view taken from inside the collapse looking at the north wall where a steady flow of water falls over exposed Cherokee shales. Deeper parts of the collapse are filled with water.

Figure 6 is another large collapse which is number 2 in section 11, T.35S., R.23E. This collapse is about 55 meters (180 feet) in diameter and is filled with water to within 12 meters (40 feet) of the surface. Its total depth is unknown, but mine workings are about 90 meters (300 feet) deep. Another large collapse is number 1 in section 7, T.35S., R.24E. This oblong-shaped collapse is 46 meters (150 feet) by 90 meters (300 feet) and 18 meters (60 feet) deep. It occurs within 90 meters (300 feet) of U.S. highway 69 and is over mine workings which are 90 meters (300 feet) deep. Small shallow subsidences occur just to the southeast of this large collapse that may indicate its direction of growth.

The remainder of the 97 hazards in the Treece area are the 80 hazardous shafts which were found (Table 3). These shafts are a large percentage (42 percent) of the total number of shafts known to exist in the area (189 shafts). The depth of these shafts probably accounts for a large percentage of them being hazardous. Sixty-two of the hazardous shafts are collapsed. Some of these appear to have been filled at one time, but further collapse and settlement of the fill has made them hazardous again. These shafts are generally less than 9 meters (30 feet) deep and are thimble-shaped. A large number of shafts are collapsed and appear to never have been filled. These are often quite deep--usually having water in the bottom. Depths have been estimated as high as 60 meters (200 feet) in some cases. These collapsed shafts are usually funnel-shaped at the top with diameters often in the 6 meter (20 foot) to 12 meter (40 foot) range. The diameters shrink with depth and the funnel-shaped walls of the collapse are very steep, being composed of Cherokee shales. Recent cave-ins found in the field indicate that many of these collapsed shafts are still growing outward.

Figure 7 is a view of a typical deep, collapsed, shaft in this part of the study area. This shaft is number 8 in section 12, T.35S., R.23E. It is about 9 meters (30 feet) in diameter at the top and is approximately 15 meters (50 feet) deep. Like the other collapsed shafts in this area, this shaft is surrounded by brush and trees that conceal its potential hazard until it is closely approached.

The remaining 18 hazardous shafts are open and uncollapsed, and reach depths up to 60 meters (200 feet). These shafts are usually rectangular in cross-section with wood cribbing and often have concrete collars. Figure 8 is shaft number 6 in section 2, T.35S., R.23E on Plate II-B. This shaft is 1.5 meters (5 feet) by 2.1 meters (7 feet), and has wood cribbing up to the surface. This shaft is surrounded by a small welded wire fence; however, many shafts and surface collapses tack any protective barriers. However, "no trespassing" signs are a common feature along the section roads passing through these mining areas.

Mine depths in the Treece area range from 52 meters (170 feet) down to 146 meters (480 feet), the deepest in the entire district. Many mines are 90 meters (300 feet) or more in depth.

Baxter Springs

The Baxter Springs mining area begins at the Spring River and extends about 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) west. This area is split between the Neutral, Kansas, and Baxter Springs, Kansas, quadrangles of Plates II-B and II-C, with a small strip along the south that is on the Picher, Oklahoma-Kansas and Peoria, Oklahoma-Kansas quadrangles, and is covered in the Oklahoma report. A total of 110 mine hazards were found in this area, 36 of which are surface collapses (Table 3). Included in this are a number of small shallow subsidences as well as some major cave-ins, including what is probably the largest collapse in the entire Tri-State district.

This large collapse is number 10 in section 10, T.35S., R.24E., and part of it is shown in Figure 9. The feature measures 140 meters (450 feet) by 200 meters (650 feet) and about 30 meters (100 feet) deep. Water of variable depth usually covers the bottom. The irregular contact between Pennsylvanian shales of the Cherokee Group above and Mississippian limestones below can be seen about halfway up the far side of the collapse in Figure 9. The mining in this area was at a depth of 85 meters (280 feet) and was in the sheet ground-type ore deposits (10, p. 100). Two more large collapses exist just to the north (No. 9) and northwest (No. 1) of collapse number 10. These two collapses are smaller in area, but are about the same depth as the larger collapse.

Two large collapses are also found just to the west of Baxter Springs in section 11, T.35S., R.24E. Collapse number 1 is 40 meters (130 feet) by 107 meters (350 feet) in surface extent and about 24 meters (80 feet) deep. Just to the south is another large collapse, number 2. This collapse is 60 meters (200 feet) by 76 meters (250 feet) and is partially filled with water.

Another large collapse, number 3, in section 2, T.35S., R.24E., has been used as a sanitary landfill by the city of Baxter Springs and was nearly full when visited in the field.

A total of 151 shafts were found in the Baxter Springs area (Table 3). Of these, nearly half, 74, were judged to be hazardous. All but 11 of these were collapsed. Of the 11 uncollapsed shafts in the Baxter Springs area, perhaps the most hazardous is shaft number 3 in section 35, T.34S., R.24E. which is pictured in Figure 10. This shaft measures 2 meters (6 feet) by 2 meters (6 feet) in cross-section and is about 18 meters (60 feet) to water; however, it is concealed in trees and has no protective barrier. This shaft was found on the February, 1981, aerial photography, but would have been impossible to detect on photography acquired during the spring or summer when the overhanging vegetation would have been leafed out.

A total of 63 collapsed shafts were found in the Baxter Springs area and judged to be hazardous. As in the Treece area, some of these hazardous shafts are very deep with depths estimated as high as 60 meters (200 feet) in the case of shafts 10 and 11 in section 10, T.35S., R.24E. Since Cherokee silts and shales are the surface rock in the Baxter Springs area, collapsed shafts have the same funnel shape as those in the Treece area. Shaft number 10 is shown in Figure 11. The top of this shaft is expanding and is gradually taking in the boulder pile in the background. Figure 12 shows shaft number 3 in section 10, T.35S., R.24E. This shaft is about 6 meters (20 feet) across at the top and 46 meters (150 feet) to water. The original shape of the shaft is suggested by the rectangular cross-section at depth.

Mine workings in the Baxter Springs area range in depth from 30 meters (100 feet) down to 104 meters (340 feet) with many mines in the 60 meter (200 foot) to 90 meter (300 foot) range.


The Galena mining area occupies roughly the eastern half of T.35S., R.25E. Most of this area is on the Baxter Springs quadrangle of Plate II-C. A small strip on the Missouri state line falls on the Joplin West, Missouri-Kansas quadrangle and is included in the Missouri report. A total of 599 mine hazards were found in the Galena area (Table 3). This represents nearly two-thirds of all the mine hazards found in the Kansas study area. Most of the mine hazards in the Galena area are found in 7 sections: 11, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, and 27 in T.34S., R.25E. The density of hazards in these sections is such that they cannot be shown and numbered on Plate II-C. To adequately portray these hazards, 1:12,000 maps of these 7 sections have been prepared and are shown in Figure B-8 through B-l5 in Appendix B. Even at this scale, the hazardous shafts and surface collapses in section 14 had to be placed on separate maps: figures B-10 and B-11, respectively.

As mentioned in the description of the Galena mining area in the introduction, a large number of mine hazards exist in this area because: shafting was the primary means of exploration, mining was restricted to 61 meter (200 foot) square lots, each one containing a shaft, the deposits were close to the surface, and ore-bearing pillars were routinely robbed. The end result, a hundred years after the heyday of mining in Galena, is 6 open adits, 7 open pits, 209 surface collapses, and 377 hazardous shafts, many of these within the Galena city limits.

Much of the Galena mining is concentrated in a broad arc beginning near the Missouri state line east of Galena in sec. 13, T.34S., R.25E., and extending northwest to the Short Creek bottoms near the Main Street bridge in section 14, then sweeping south and southwest through sections 22, 23, and 27 and ending at the valley of Shoal Creek.

One particularly bad spot in Galena is in the southwest quarter of section 13 and the southeast quarter of section 14. Once the site of the Southside Mine, this area is today called "Hell's Half Acre" by many local residents. Figure 13 is a wide-angle view of part of this area taken from atop a chat pile adjacent to Fourth Street and looking north. The area is a "moonscape" of rubble piles, collapsed mines, and open mine shafts that typifies the present condition of most Galena mining areas. One of the largest of the 209 surface collapses in the Galena area is shown in Figure 14. This view includes part of collapse numbers 68 and 71 in Figure B-11 of the Appendix. These two collapses together are about 180 meters (600 feet) long and 18 meters (60 feet) deep. Resistant masses of Mississippian cherty limestones are explosed in the walls of the collapse in Figure 14. These are buried beneath a mantle of cherty rubble that varies in thickness and readily weathers to form talus slopes on the sides of this and other collapses. When the talus is not present, horizontal drifts are sometimes exposed in the walls of these large collapses.

In some cases, as in Figure 15 (surface collapse number 75, section 14, Figure B-14) cave-ins have occurred where either an underground room was close to the surface or the spalling of the roof rock has brought the room close to the surface. In either case, part of the underground workings are exposed to the surface. Two such cave-ins were entered in the Southside Mine area in the company of Ralph Cure, a life-long Galena resident who is familiar with its many mine hazards. One mine was entered through surface collapse number 1 in section 13 (Figure B-9). This mine opening, which is shown in Figure 16, leads downward and then eastward. While underground, the penetrations of mine shafts 10, 11, and 12 could be seen through the ceiling. Another mine was entered through surface collapse number 37 in section 14 (Figure B-11). This mine claimed the life of a boyhood friend of Mr. Cure's about 20 years ago. At that time the mine, according to Mr. Cure, was deeper, having since worked its way to the surface through a succession of roof falls. When this mine was entered in the late summer of 1981, mine shafts numbers 108, 109, and 110 (Figure B-10) could be seen penetrating what appeared from below to be a very thin roof. At this time Mr. Cure expressed surprise at how much higher the floor of this mine was in comparison to his last visit. It appeared that a large part of the ceiling had fallen in fairly recently. The mine was vacated at this point and no other mines were entered. If deterioration and spalling of room ceilings is occurring in this mine room, similar conditions are probably occurring in other mine rooms as well. Thus, despite the age of the Galena mine workings, they have probably not reached stability and further mine cave-ins are a possibility.

Whereas most of the surface collapses in the Southside Mine area are dry and generally less than 18 meters (60 feet) deep, surface collapses in the Short Creek valley of sections 14 and 15 usually contain water. However, three of the largest water bodies in this area are actually open-pit mines. Open-pit mines are numbered along with the shafts on the maps in this report and in Table C-i in the Appendix. The three large pits in the Short Creek valley are numbers 7 and 12 in section 14 (Figure B-la) and number 17 in section 15 (Figure B-12). Open-pit number 7 (section 14) is shown in Figure 17. This pit is filled with greenish-blue water of unknown depth. Crane (4, p. 189-190) states that open-pit mining in the Short Creek valley began in 1901 as the result of a mine cave-in. A study of multidate aerial photography, however, shows that much of the open-pit mining was conducted in the 1940's.

Water-filled surface collapses are also found in the northeast quarter of section 23 (Figure B-l4). The largest of these is number 12 which is 76 meters (250 feet) by 91 meters (300 feet), appears to be quite deep and is known locally as the "Blue Hole" because of the vivid color of the water that fills it. Few of the other surface collapses in the Galena area contain water.

Six adits were found in the Galena area; all of them are located in section 27. Figure 18 shows an adit (number 79, Figure B-l5) located near a county road southwest of Galena. Most adits are partially flooded and none were entered.

Of the 599 hazards in the Galena area, 377 are hazardous shafts and out of these all but 11 are collapsed to some extent. The paucity of uncollapsed shafts in this area can be explained by the age of the shafts and the rotting away of cribbing over the years, and also by the widespread occurrence of unconsolidated cherty gravels that mantle most of the outcrops. As a result, the 366 collapsed shafts in and around Galena have the characteristic appearance of inverted cones of loose cherty rubble at or near the angle of repose that narrow down to small square craggy shafts cut through cherty limestone bedrock. An example of such a shaft from section 14 is shown in Figure 19. Another typical Galena collapsed shaft is shown in Figure 20. This shaft enters an underground room at a very shallow depth. The loose rubbly slopes surrounding these shaft-openings make them very hazardous. Since the material above the shaft is at or near the angle of repose, a person walking along this slope may set off a small landslide of which he may inadvertantly become a part.

According to mine maps, the working levels of most of the mines in the Galena area were shallow, generally less than 33 meters (100 feet) deep. However, two mines south of Galena, the Hartford Mine in the southeast quarter of section 26; T.34S., R.25E. and the Clermont Mine in the southeast quarter of section 34, T.34S., R.25E. reached depths of 61 meters (185 feet). The Clermont Mine map also noted that ore was located at levels up to 30 meters (95 feet) deeper than those depicted. Thus, deeper mines may exist in the Galena area as claimed by some residents; however, it is difficult to document this with the mine maps that are available.

The mine shafts found in the field are estimated to be as deep as 26 meters (80 feet); however, most are judged to be in the 10 meter (30 feet) to 16 meter (50 feet) depth range. The shafts are about equally divided among those that are dry at the bottom and those which contain water. The rough jagged nature of the rock comprising the walls of these shafts make them hazardous at any depth. A fall into one of these shafts would seemingly result in as much injury from glancing off the walls as from final impact with the bottom.

The hazardous nature of the many mine shafts and surface collapses in the Galena area is tempered somewhat by the lack of heavy vegetation in most mining areas. The cherty rubble that blankets areas of intense mining creates a substrate that is too sterile for most types of native vegetation. As a result, a. person walking through these mining areas is usually afforded excellent visibility and can normally detect a mine hazard before it is too late. However, one should not assume that all mine hazards are so well exposed. Tall grasses grow in some areas where the mine waste is thin or absent and they can conceal open mine shafts. Shaft 38 in section 13 (Figure B-9) is such a shaft. Located in grass over 2 meters (6 feet) tall, it is not apparent until one is standing at its very edge. Similarly, shafts 63 and 64 in section 14 (Figure B-b) are also hidden in tall grass. Shaft 73, which is also in section 14, is an uncollapsed shaft in a grassy vacant lot. It was difficult to find in the field despite the fact that it is located within 30 meters (90 feet) of Main Street in Galena.

Plate III--Mine and Mill Waste

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Plate III shows waste sites and tailings ponds found in the study area. Approximately 943 hectares (2328 acres) are covered by mine and mill waste in Kansas. Waste-covered area determinations for the various parts of the study area are listed in Table 4. The larger chat piles and those tailings ponds which were judged to be potentially hazardous are numbered within each township and are tabulated in Table C-3, "Chat Piles and Tailings Ponds" in Appendix C. This plate was prepared using the 1981 aerial photography acquired for this study. Hundreds of waste piles were mapped. These vary in size from the very small piles found near shallow shafts in the older mining areas around Galena to the remnants of huge chat piles left by centralized mills of the Treece and Baxter Springs areas. The value of chat as an aggregate resource has resulted in quarrying and removal of much of the Tri-State chat over the years. In fact, only a few of the large chat piles remain extant in the study area. Plate III uses solid lines to show chat and waste piles existing in 1981. Chat-covered areas are depicted using a broken line. These areas include the remnants of reclaimed chat piles and areas covered by mine waste. Much of the Galena mining areas are covered by mine waste and over the years this material has been washed away filling some of the stream channels in the area.

The chat piles of the Picher field in the Treece and Baxter Springs areas were originally huge conical hills of chat reaching 60 meters (180 feet) or more height. The dashed lines in this area, as shown in Plate III, approximate the bases for these piles before their reclamation. Many of these piles have been almost completely removed leaving only a thin mantle of chat. In other instances, small isolated piles of chat remain. In still others, the process of reclamation was still going on at the time of aerial photography. These chat piles that were being actively quarried appear in Plate III having irregular scalloped outlines.

Figure 21 is a view of part of the Treece area of mining. This photo was taken from atop chat pile 16 in section 14, T.35S., R.23E. looking northwest. It shows the truncated remnants of pile number 15 in the middle distance and part of what remains of chat pile 9 on the right. Chat pile 6, which is nearly complete, can be seen in the distance.

Chat piles are generally not very hazardous. As can be seen in the foreground of Figure 21, they can have slopes which approach the angle of repose. However, they can normally be climbed without fear of burial. It is these steep slopes which make chat piles particularly attractive to owners of off-the-road vehicles who use areas of chat as playgrounds for their motorcycles and dune buggies. Such use of chat piles should be done only with a good knowledge of the area and any hazards present.

Chat piles can become hazardous in at least two ways. One way occurs when the chat pile is being actively quarried. Although the chat is generally unconsolidated at the surface, after years of burial in large piles the chat can become weakly cemented, this cementation being caused by the interspersed limestone in the chat. As a result, when machinery begins removing chat from the pile, the remaining chat is often capable of maintaining a near-vertical face. Since the chat is only weakly cemented, this steep face may pose a hazard to persons venturing near it both above and below. Children digging into such a face run the risk of rapid burial. Another way in which chat piles can become hazardous is by the collapse of mines or mine shafts beneath them. The most dramatic such instance in the study area occurs in chat pile 3 in section 2, T.35S., R.23E. In the center of this pile is a collapsed shaft (No. 7, Plate II-B, same section) 13 meters (40 feet) in diameter but nearly 33 meters (100 feet) deep.

Tailings ponds were a common feature of the Treece, Baxter Springs, and Waco mining areas. Because of the subtleness of the topography in these areas, tailings ponds were never very deep--most being less than 3 or 4 meters (9 to 12 feet) deep. Today, these ponds are in various states of preservation. Most have had their embankments breached and no longer impound water. These ponds are shown on Plate III by the use of a hachured line indicating the location of the embankment, the area behind this line remaining empty. Other tailings ponds are of more significance and are potentially hazardous. These are shown on Plate III with the same embankment symbol, but the ponds themselves are filled in with dashed lines and are assigned numbers which refer to information on the ponds in Table C-3 "Chat Piles and Tailings Ponds" in Appendix C.

The potentially hazardous tailings ponds are of two types. The first type is generally dry but lacks a cover of vegetation and is subject to wind erosion. The fine-grained tailings in some of these ponds are slowly migrating with the prevailing winds. An example is pond 8 in section 11, T.35S., R.23E. from which mill waste has been blown into 2 meter (6 foot) dunes to the north of the original pond. In fact, these dunes are burying shrubs and small trees in this area. However, the real hazard of these ponds is caused by very fine mill waste which does not form dunes but becomes airborne and is dispursed over large areas, thus becoming an air pollutant and a possible health hazard.

The second type of hazardous tailings ponds are those that still impound water; however, the hazards associated with these ponds are not judged to be high. The danger of catastrophic flooding resulting from the failure of a pond embankment does not exist in this study because of the small amount of vertical storage of the ponds and the low relief of the topography. The potential hazard exists for those who use the ponds for swimming and other pursuits. Although the ponds are not deep, their bottoms are composed of fine-grained mill wastes that are saturated with water and behave much like quick-sand.

The largest tailings ponds found in the study area, that is, the ones that contain the most water, are those that are still being used in chat reclaiming operations. These ponds store water that is used to sort the chat into different sizes for different markets. The largest of these ponds is pond 6, section 10, T.35S., R.24E. which is shown in Figure 22. The remnants of chat pile 12 appear in the background along with the apparatus used for sorting chat.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Tri-state Mining Area
Comments to
Web version May 2004. Report from January 1983.