Feb 26, 1972: Dam Collapses in West Virginia

Houses Perched on a Hillside in Logan, West Vi...

Houses Perched on a Hillside in Logan, West Virginia.

A dam collapses in West Virginia on this day in 1972, flooding a valley and killing 118 people. Another 4,000 people were left homeless.

Coal mining was the chief industry in Logan County, West Virginia, in the 1970s. Such mining poses many environmental complications and first among them is safe disposal of the byproduct, known as tailings. If the tailings are dumped on hills, they can cause landslides. If placed in valleys, they can block streams and cause flooding.

In West Virginia’s Buffalo Creek Valley, tailings from area coal mines were used to dam Buffalo Creek. Tailings can however be unstable, especially in heavy rain. In February 1972, three days of rain exacerbated two small dam breaks that had occurred several years earlier. On February 26 at 8:01 a.m., the dam burst, unleashing a 20-foot wall of water that roared into the valley.

About 4,000 people were living in 17 towns and villages in Buffalo Creek Valley at the time. Hundreds of homes and buildings were swept away by the powerful flood. Though estimates of the death toll vary, it is believed that at least 118 people lost their lives. The Buffalo Mining Company, which was responsible for the tailings, was forced to pay $30 million in damages.

Advertisements

Activist, Unplugged from the Matrix. Action for Freedom!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. You have full control over the frequency of emails you receive, and you can unsubscribe at any time. We will NOT share your email address with anyone, ever!

Join 737 other followers

Member of The Internet Defense LeagueBloggers' Rights at EFF
%d bloggers like this: