Although I feel that the disaster that struck the denizens of Centralia, Pennsylvania is a tradgedy not to be made light of, the mine fire! Fire!! FIRE!!!! (Um.. Heh-heh. -Sorry about that.) is something too cool for words.
I would like to make a point here. I am not one of these "Johnny-come-lately's" who has read "A Walk in the Woods," (God bless 'em!) and added their page then. My page has been up for over 3 & 1/2 years--and my interesting in Centralia has endured for over 14. (!)
This is not a joke. Check out how to grow a "Coal garden."
The mine fire around Centralia, is the world's largest, and second oldest .
*CORRECTION* Centralia is _not_ the world's largest mine fire. I believe the one in China is. (cf Otherfires.)
(Yet another :P ) *CORRECTION* Centralia is _not_ the second oldest minefire in the world. I don't know what the second oldest one is, but click here to find out about the oldest.
On the way into Centralia, on route 61, one can see a culm (waste coal) pile - the size of a mountain!! -It took the small village of Mt. Carmel over one hundred years to make it.
*CORRECTION*!!: Shamokin was the town that accumulated all this coal. Sorry. :O
When one enters Centralia, one is greated by a sign saying, "Public Alert. Area subject to mine subsidence and toxic gas emission." (Heh-heh. -Sounds like my butt.)
Here is a tree that women will put an ornament on once a year, if they want to have a linoleum lizard.
Behind the town, there is an area of the mine fire that is "hot" - that is, near the surface. There, the devastation of the mine fire is awesome.
This isn't a good picture; in fact, none of them are, but, in some places, one can see heat shimmering from the ground.
In some places, one can see fumaroles of steam rising. This is normally a lot clearer; it was very dry when I took these pictures.
Here is a better one. This used to be a water main. :O
Here is what one youth has to say about living in the Centralia area.
This is absolutely the best picture of Centralia I have ever seen. -It has it all: The desolation of a once thriving town, the devastion, the fumes perpetually rising from the ground.
On to Before and After pictures of Centralia. Warning: Some of these are a little . . . disturbing.