Many old strip mine pits are left with no reclamation work. Persons have drowned in accumulated water, fallen to their death from the top of a pit, or been fatally struck by falling rock when playing or exploring inside a pit.
Abandoned surface mines, quarries, sand pits and other sites present public safety hazards at all times. Stay away from them!
Surface - Dangers
The general public is often unaware of the dangers of mine openings. Potential dangers are falling rock, loose and shifting dirt, and near-freezing water temperatures. In the spring, unstable ground conditions maybe especially prevalent due to thawing of frozen ground.
Old quarry and open pit banks or faces are hazardous, especially if they have not been worked for several years and have gone unscaled and uninspected for possible loose material. They become extremely dangerous during periods of alternate freezing and thawing which widen seams and cracks in the rock and weaken the banks to the point of failure.
The surface around abandoned mine openings, caves, and open pits can collapse without warning. Overhanging ledges or rims of pits and caverns may fall with the slightest increase in pressure. The danger is not only to those who walk too close to the edge but also to anyone who happens to be below.
Quarries are often used as swimming holes. There is no way of knowing how deep the water is, and swimming at these sites is especially dangerous. Abandoned strip mines pose additional problems such as subsurface terrain, sharp changes in water depth, and extremely cold water temperatures.
The very nature of quarries and quarrying operations rules them out as places to play. Any child or adult can fall or be struck by falling rock. Deep pools may have submerged rocks. On several occasions, people have broken their necks by diving into these pools.
Stay away from:
The top of a mine shaft is especially dangerous. The rock at the surface is often decomposed and timbers may be decayed or missing. Do not walk anywhere near a shaft opening. The whole area is often ready and waiting to slide into the shaft which can be hundreds of feet deep.
The ground area around abandoned mine openings and open pits can be weak and cave-in without warning. Cave-ins are obviously dangerous. Areas that are likely to cave-in are often hard to detect. Minor disturbance, such as vibrations caused by walking or speaking, may cause a cave-in. If a person survives a cave-in, he or she may die from starvation, thirst, or suffocation.
Explosives (dynamite, black powder, blasting caps, etc.) deteriorate with age. They
can be detonated by the slightest movement. Never handle explosives or blasting
The mining property may have formed a small lake, but do not swim in it! You do not know what is in the water! Water temperature could be extremely cold and there could also be sharp rocks near the surface.
Many mine shafts also contain ponds of water at the bottom, and drowning is a danger in such situations.
A shaft sunk from a tunnel is called a winze. In many old mines, winzes were sunk in the floors of tunnels and then boarded over. If water is standing or flowing, then it is usually impossible to see the bottom. There is always a danger of stepping into a winze or other deep holes.
Never play on, under, or around machines.