Mine exploration, photographs and mining history for mine explorers, industrial archaeologists, researchers and historians Mine explorer and mining history videos on YouTube Connect with other mine explorers on Facebook
Tip: do not include 'mine' or 'quarry', search by name e.g. 'cwmorthin', use 'Sounds like search' if unsure of spelling

Advanced Search
'Sounds like search'
Quick a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
Tip: narrow down your search by typing more than one word and selecting 'Search for all words' or 'Exact search'

Search for any word
Search for all words
Exact search
Tip: narrow down your search by typing more than one word and selecting 'Search for all words' or 'Exact search'

Search for any word
Search for all words
Exact search

Mine Exploration Forum

Jump to page << < 1 2 3 4 > >>
Author Emergency air
tomh

Joined: 16/07/2009
Location: st austell

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 10/08/2012 11:16:25
Reply |  Quote
Although I tend not to go in to mines with bad air, I am considering getting some form of emergency air.

Any recommendations on something lightweight, easy to use, hoepfully cheap and gives over ten minutes of air?
IP: 86.186.89.37
stuey

Avatar of stuey

Joined: 15/08/2007

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 10/08/2012 11:42:17
Reply |  Quote
BA sets come up cheap and I suppose, you could rig one up with a smaller cylinder. You get them reloaded at a diving place.

I'd consider getting a gas meter. There is a chap on ebay who sells BW gasalert microclips for around the £120 mark with 6 months ticket. They are not that pretty, but they work. What is a bigger bonus is that I have the calibration gear (in 6 months I will be buying some calib gas so future calibrations/resensorings are cheap). It's the 6 monthy mucking about which makes them pricey to run.

I'd get a reading which definately gives you concern and then consider how your ventilate the place, or you ventilate yourself. Have a google of "oxygen candles". They had these lying around in the dockyard for years, ones which had gone out of date....I never got around to saying "Go on then" to my mate who offered to bring me a few home. Sadly, following a wet/oily one exploding and killing a load of people, they account/dispose of them properly, which is sad, since if you try and get any first hand, the people selling them will wonder why you want such a large amount of potassium perchlorate.... perhaps to make a bomb with.

One thing a mate did alert me to, which made sense was that if you use BA in a very borderline situation, the air which comes out of the equipment actually improves the atmosphere.

In my estimation following a number of rather sporting experiences with atmospheres, it usually gets pretty nasty and uncomfortable before you get in real trouble. Clearly going down any shaft where bad air could be expected is a bad idea without a meter, or davy lamp.

To put it into perspective, the bad air can be closer to outside than you think. Where we had our most exciting experience, I put a meter down it the other day.

Collar level (walled around) 20.2%, 6ft down 19.4% 20ft down 18.2%, 40ft down 14.4%, 80ft down 12.6%, 120ft down 11.8%.

Below 14% is nasty, below 12% (and above 10.5%) [all at low energy expenditure] verges from very nasty to blacking out under moderate effort.

I'd get a means of testing the air, if you plan to make a habit out of exciting ones.

In my estimation, if you drop into bad air, you use your bodily reserves up first and all seems well, after that, the trouble really starts.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BW-Gas-Alert-Clip-4-gas-detector-/120965784512?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Test_Measurement_Equipment_ET&hash=item1c2a1f63c0

I recommend one of those.
IP: 92.29.174.67
tomh

Joined: 16/07/2009
Location: st austell

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 10/08/2012 11:58:46
Reply |  Quote
Seems easier to drop exciting shafts with you!

I know of a few potentially deep shafts with dodgy air that could be worth a poke.

In these scenarios even with taking precautions It would be wise to descend using a belay/rescue/haulage system and radios?

So what is oxygen meant to be in normal conditions?
IP: 86.186.89.37
stuey

Avatar of stuey

Joined: 15/08/2007

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 10/08/2012 12:09:28
Reply |  Quote
20.9%

You quite often go down to about 15% in ends and poorly vented stopes with lots of sulphides.

Anything less than that and you need some biological stuff rotting some wood to take it down further. However, we got to the end of an adit in Wheal Busy and it was around the 12% mark and that was from bio-gunge.

It's odd because low oxygen with no CO2 gives you a totally different "hit" from low oxygen with some CO2.

Google "caves, CO2 and you" and read that article. Very interesting. Rich and I took everything into the back of MW and copied the experiment. We need to go back and tie it all together with a decent gas meter. I'll put the whole thing on youtube.
IP: 92.29.174.67
Tamarmole

Joined: 20/05/2009
Location: Tamar Valley

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 10/08/2012 22:31:12
Reply |  Quote
tomh wrote:

Seems easier to drop exciting shafts with you!

I know of a few potentially deep shafts with dodgy air that could be worth a poke.



In recent years the only fatality in mine exploration was a chap who abseiled into a coal mine and was overcome by bad air.

Unless you want to follow his example it really isn't worth the risk. More to the point consider the poor sods who will have to risk their lives hauling your corpse out should your gamble go wrong.
IP: 86.182.128.117
tomh

Joined: 16/07/2009
Location: st austell

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 08:20:34
Reply |  Quote
Tamarmole
I wasn't suggesting just chancing it.
I was suggesting stuey checks them with his gas meter first and then we can assess how best to approach them.
I am not insane!
IP: 109.144.202.29
Trewillan

Joined: 21/02/2012

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 10:07:40
Reply |  Quote
tomh wrote:

So what is oxygen meant to be in normal conditions?


If you need to ask, you obviously don't know what you're doing.
IP: 91.125.171.198
JamieC

Avatar of JamieC

Joined: 13/06/2011
Location: St Austell Bay

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 10:59:46
Reply |  Quote
Trewillan wrote:

tomh wrote:

So what is oxygen meant to be in normal conditions?


If you need to ask, you obviously don't know what you're doing.


Then again, if you don't ask you'll never know...
IP: 109.156.243.160
tomh

Joined: 16/07/2009
Location: st austell

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 12:56:15
Reply |  Quote
Can I take the opportunity to clarify a few things here.

My original post was intended to find out what emergency device I can carry to essentially save my life should I inadvertently stray in to bad air.

The topic seems to have ended up talking about dropping shafts that have bad air. I probably should have made that another topic.

I am aware that dropping shafts with potential bad air is DANGEROUS and could get me killed, I have no intention of harming myself or endangering anyone else in the process.

If I was to tackle a shaft with bad air, I would certainly do this with my eyes wide open, aware of the full facts and using the correct kit for the job e.g:

A recce with a gas meter being lowered down to check the air, breathing apparatus, rescue haulage system in place and a trusted team of top men on hand monitoring me via radio etc.

In response to this:
If you need to ask, you obviously don't know what you're doing.

I believe I am aware of the facts, However I am always grateful to receive advice from more experienced people and would gladly welcome any you have.

Hopefully the above should reassure you that I am a safety concious explorer and not the suicide junkie you may have me down for. Shocked

I tend to live by the saying of an Everest explorer:
Summiting is optional, returning alive is compulsory.
IP: 109.152.93.228
agricola

Avatar of agricola

Joined: 28/10/2007
Location: In a book

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 12:57:19
Reply |  Quote
A cautionary word, just remember if you take emergency air with you, then you must accept that you could end up in a similar position to cave divers in that if anything goes wrong, you won't be seeing the daylight again and rescue may be impossible.

I sit here waiting to be corrected but I don't think that most volunteer cave or mine rescue teams in the uk are equiped for bad air rescues. I know that until 2008 the volunteer team in Cornwall that I belonged to could not venture into bad air.

Now I'm one of the team captains of a works mine rescue team and we are equiped and trained to work in BA, I don't think many of my colleagues could SRT with a BA set on. Perhaps its time we restored our portable headframe Smartass

--

If it can't be grown it has to be mined.
IP: 86.133.210.77
tomh

Joined: 16/07/2009
Location: st austell

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 13:09:14
Reply |  Quote
Thanks for your response.

That is a good point, I have never tried ascending with BA on.

The system I would use in this system is a rescue system, I was the man in the sling for a practise run of this a couple of years ago.
Pat set up a good rescue/haulage system using pulleys, ID's etc and it did not take long to haul myself up a shaft - very effective.
This would be the system I would probably choose if ascending with BA.
IP: 109.152.93.228
RockChick

Avatar of RockChick

Joined: 12/08/2008
Location: Chester

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 14:14:15
Reply |  Quote
Another thought to remember on the topic of gas meters for bad air, is you don't just need to be watching the oxygen levels. I know you can get single gas meters (not sure if anyone on here uses them or not), but it is possible to get dangerous levels of carbon monoxide for example while the oxygen levels are still 'reasonable' enough not to worry you, which you won't spot with a single gas meter.

And don't forget how much gas levels change with height in still air- oxygen levels ect can be fine at head height while you're walking along, but if you sit down it can be a different story... I assume no one on here takes children (or very small people) exploring anywhere with bad air!! Shocked

--

I have many faults, but all of them are normal!!
IP: 78.147.36.39
stuey

Avatar of stuey

Joined: 15/08/2007

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 16:28:51
Reply |  Quote
I have a BA set in the pipes and I fully intend to use it.

At the moment, I'm interested in the feasibility of running elevated levels of oxygen, so if I do come unhinged, the stuff I've breathed out takes the edge off it.

There are a couple of very interesting mines in the Scorrier area, which have the potential to get into all sorts. One has low oxygen and the other has low oxygen with associated carbon dioxide.

A couple of well seasoned and well respected explorers came out of the former with the last-man-out blacking out on the rope. My good chum and I had an exceedingly close one in the latter. Exceedingly close.

Rather than be frightened of it and get all dogmatic and silly, it's an opportunity for some proper testing and some bigger picture consideration.

If you take the HSE approach, your alarm will probably go off in most places and you'll run away crapping yourself, when the reality is that you probably weren't in danger.

A lot of chaps in Cornwall and Tamar Valley are cavers and do it caver style, proceed slowly and carefully and if your fag goes out, turn around carefully. There is a lot of sense in this. Some of my chums use a lighter (which goes out at 13.5% ish for butane) and if it goes out, you go out. You can go lower than this (but not much lower) and still be OK.

One modern mine in Cornwall which people go stomping through goes down to about 11% and is very nasty.

I've got a bit of testing to do (if you're about one evening next week Tom) and after that, should be able to share a document on CO2 and O2 relevant to mine explorers, which will be the most comprehensive yet, I hope.

IP: 94.196.116.23
RRX

Joined: 27/11/2009
Location: Cornwall

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 16:34:42
Reply |  Quote
stuey wrote:

I have a BA set in the pipes and I fully intend to use it.

At the moment, I'm interested in the feasibility of running elevated levels of oxygen, so if I do come unhinged, the stuff I've breathed out takes the edge off it.

There are a couple of very interesting mines in the Scorrier area, which have the potential to get into all sorts. One has low oxygen and the other has low oxygen with associated carbon dioxide.

A couple of well seasoned and well respected explorers came out of the former with the last-man-out blacking out on the rope. My good chum and I had an exceedingly close one in the latter. Exceedingly close.

Rather than be frightened of it and get all dogmatic and silly, it's an opportunity for some proper testing and some bigger picture consideration.

If you take the HSE approach, your alarm will probably go off in most places and you'll run away crapping yourself, when the reality is that you probably weren't in danger.

A lot of chaps in Cornwall and Tamar Valley are cavers and do it caver style, proceed slowly and carefully and if your fag goes out, turn around carefully. There is a lot of sense in this. Some of my chums use a lighter (which goes out at 13.5% ish for butane) and if it goes out, you go out. You can go lower than this (but not much lower) and still be OK.

One modern mine in Cornwall which people go stomping through goes down to about 11% and is very nasty.

I've got a bit of testing to do (if you're about one evening next week Tom) and after that, should be able to share a document on CO2 and O2 relevant to mine explorers, which will be the most comprehensive yet, I hope.



What he said Thumb Up oh and its not in the pipes, its in my car :P need to drop it off but have got someone who is going to charge the cylinders up for you aswell :D

And as Agricola has mentioned try SRT'ing with all the extra kit and it's no as easy as you may think, what goes down also has to come back up


--

www.carbisbaycrew.co.uk Cornwall's Underground Site
IP: 82.153.161.60
lozz

Joined: 03/08/2012
Location: Cornwall

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 16:50:05
Reply |  Quote
Interesting post on the air quality, I suspect it's a hidden danger to all, it is interesting to note how far appart some of the air shafts were in the old days before more efficient means of air changes were brought about, they were in generall not that far appart which says it all in a dead end situation.
Years ago at Crofty there was a story that a couple of guys were missing on the tally and they sent someone down to find them, he/they did not return either, they eventually found them all, carbon monoxide apparently, I do not know if this was a true fact, I would be interested to know.
Fact or fiction it is a scenario that is entirely feasble, I would say that researching the workings before entering and local conditions/knowledge before doing anything is a prerequisite as is having all the right kit including some form of communication and access to the emergency services.
When I used to do exploring years ago there were plenty of gung ho idiots around putting themselves and others to unecessary risks. The risks are bad enough when working underground as any miner will tell you, the risks in abandoned mines to the unweary are many fold.

Safe exploring.

Lozz.
IP: 86.174.135.152
tomh

Joined: 16/07/2009
Location: st austell

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 19:27:45
Reply |  Quote
I avoid gung ho idiots like the plague, the guys I explore with tend to be very cautious which is reassuring.

he/they did not return either, they eventually found them all, carbon monoxide apparently

Sadly this is probably true, my dad used to work for the merchant navy and recalls this also happened on board ship when some of the engineers in the depths of the ship broke protocol and ventured in to a section renowned for bad air/gases, others went to there aid and also perished.

IP: 109.152.93.228
lozz

Joined: 03/08/2012
Location: Cornwall

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 20:08:42
Reply |  Quote
Me too. Talking of risks, one of the trammers at one place I worked would crouch under the chute bed when doing a staff blast for a hangup! He had also "loosened up" one of the GWR's on the grizzly so he could move it to one side to let the odd biggy through down the ore pass, in the back of the grizzly was an inertia locking safty line that you were supposed to hook up to, he never bothered, mind you I must confess that it got in the way a bit when swinging a sledge.
I can imagine what your dad said happening, my farther was in the navy during the war he always said it was none to pleasant down below.

Lozz
IP: 86.174.135.152
exspelio

Joined: 02/05/2012
Location: peak district

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 20:20:11
Reply |  Quote
Spool back into the depths of memory, Bunch of boy scouts, Balleye mine,Via Gelia, Derbyshire, early 1970's, Exhaust fumes from quarry above, CO, did for a few of them.

--

Always remember, nature is in charge, get it wrong and it is you who suffers!.
IP: 87.127.158.157
exspelio

Joined: 02/05/2012
Location: peak district

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 21:01:19
Reply |  Quote
Just looked through 15 pages of google, not found it yet, but it did happen. Help me out here Old Git.

--

Always remember, nature is in charge, get it wrong and it is you who suffers!.
IP: 87.127.158.157
stuey

Avatar of stuey

Joined: 15/08/2007

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Emergency air
Posted: 11/08/2012 21:53:31
Reply |  Quote
There is surprisingly little written about mine gases and men. There is quite a bit about toxic gases, like H2S and CO, but not so much CO2 and O2.

One of the most interesting texts I've read on the matter was the 1864 enquiry into the working conditions of Britain's Mines. Cut a long story short, they seemed to be very keen on figuring out what the score was and noted the behaviour of candles up mountains. They were particularly concerned about Carbonic Acid gas (CO2) which hung around after blasting. I'm not too sure about the accuracy of their O2 readings. I think some are quite high. They put some chaps in a sealed chamber like a diving bell and then monitored them as they breathed all the air and reported the results. These seem to fly in the face of what I've experienced. However, I expect this is true for Low O2 with a corresponding high CO2 (which is much more "nasty" than just pure low O2).

Anyway, I digress.

I gather (and this is something I haven't done much reading on....yet) that oxygen toxicity is a problem. I assume this is with regards to divers. I know from my chum "Mad Ben" that he dives with sometimes down to about 15% O2 and has to be careful not to black out when he's in shallow water. Clearly, there are solubility issues at play and this is probably where things like enzymes get hindered. So, I've assumed that it's a bad idea to breathe over atmospheric levels of oxygen with BA. I think this is probably nonsense.

I'm not sure how much it would be to get a bottle blown up with 100% O2, rather than air, but it's probably much of a muchness. What I've found is that in Cornish mines, I haven't seen anything below about 10.5%. I gather that the ferro-gunge bacteria can in theory, pull the air down to 1% or lower, in practice this doesn't happen.

It's all very well saying that in Wheal Jane, some people went into an unventilated drive and died, there is a lot of difference between direct chemical oxidation and the biological stuff we find in disused mines.

Still, 10.5% is enough to get you into a whole world of poo.

Then there is the other factor of your respiration (not just breathing) being a lot less efficient at lower oxygen levels, hence you produce more CO2, so when you turn around, you've got the problem of that too.

Anyway.....talking of air and tanks, I have a funny anecdote.

Following us being told the story of "The last man out of there blacked out on the rope" we were very well prepared to have a go at Scorrier Mine No2 and went armed with a load of air tanks, including enriched oxygen. I had very rightly decided that it was likely to be marginal and left my kit at home on purpose......

Turns out it wasn't.

Anyway, Rich wrote the oxygen level on the piece of plastic and shouted for us to pull up the red rope. It was rather heavy. In fact we were struggling with it pretty severely. Suddenly it got a lot lighter, so much so we almost fell over. We could here TANG TA TANG TANG TANG TANG SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! and it turns out that we had got the ropes tangled and hoisted the cylinder up until it got untangled, fell down and knocked the valve off. I smile when I imagine Rich frantically scrambling along the level whilst the cylinder rocketed around in the shaft (300 bar)..... it was probably quite dangerous really, and very very loud.

I missed out on that trip due to my fears, but sadly, they missed the best bit of the trip. On the way out, 4 of them had breathed the oxygen down to 17% at the bottom of the shaft. A couple more trips like that and I can understand how the last man breathed the last of the air.

It was a very long way up and they all learned an exciting lesson about using scaffold bars/joiners as a deviation!

Forget bad air, getting kebabbed by a falling scaffold pole is much more serious (not that this happened).
IP: 31.185.129.59
Jump to page << < 1 2 3 4 > >>
Safety LED Miners Caplamps Moore Books: Specialist Books I.A. Recordings: Mining and Industrial History DVDs Starless River - Caving Store Explore a Disused Welsh Slate Mine
Disclaimer: Mine exploring can be quite dangerous, but then again it can be alright, it all depends on the weather. Please read the proper disclaimer.
© 2005 to 2015 AditNow.co.uk
Top of Page