Prof. David Cliff chats with The Daily Drive radio show: How do coal seam fires burn for thousands of years?

12 October 2017

SMI/MISHC's Professor David Cliff - chats to Nick Bennett and Sam Stove on "The Daily Drive" about the geological phenomenon whereby underground coal seams ignite somehow, often by spontaneous combustion, and then burn for years.

According to the article in the Sydney Morning Herald: A coal fire has appeared adjacent to a primary school in Wollongong.  It is an area where coal washery waste was dumped to create the school’s playgrounds in the 1970’s.  The fire had been burning for decades unnoticed until 2001, there have been several attempts to extinguish it. It is thought that the fire has rekindled due to a long spell of dry weather and the drop in the water table allowing air to enter the waste.  The interview was about the nature of coal fires, how they exist, how long some have existed eg burning mountain in western NSW may have been active for thousands of years and how to control them.