Inspectors with the DEP’s Office of Blasting and Explosives say there is strong evidence to suggestion the “mysterious boom” which was felt and hear throughout Charleston Tuesday afternoon came from a strip job near Marmet.
“We haven’t checked everything yet, but it’s tending to lean toward that’s where the noise came from,” said Chief Dave Vande Linde. “The investigation is still underway and we haven’t looked at everything yet.”
Log books at the Keystone surface mine owned by Revelation Coal Company on Rush Creek near Marmet indicate a shot was put off at 5:08pm Tuesday. Minutes later Kanawha County 911 operators started getting the first calls about the mysterious noise which caused buildings to shake and windows to rattle. ”Conditions were the worst ones to shoot in,” said Vande Linde. “The heavy cloud cover would have held down the noise and caused it to echo up and down the valley. The weather conditions were ideal to make a regular shot louder than normal.”
A DEP seismographic monitor 2,600 feet from the site reigstered 131db. Vande Linde said anyting over 133db is considered a violation. Two more monitors, one a mile away and another a mile and a half away were not triggered by the blast.
Several calls to 911 indicated the sound seemed to come from the Rush Creek area.
“From where all the comments and complaints were coming from, this appears to be the culprit but we’re not 100-percent sure.”
Vande Linde said as of Wednesday afternoon they had found no violations associated with the blast, but indicated some of the handling of how the charge was detonated may have been unusual as well.
“Sometimes they may drill next to a mud seam and not know it’s there, sometime there may be a crack of fisher they didn’t see and it can blow out.” said Vande Linde. “It’s like wind or water, the gas takes the path of least resistance to get out and that can make extra noise.”