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Thread: Cool Underground Tunnel and Nanaimo's Old Mine Shafts

  1. #1811


    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Roosen View Post
    You are quite right about the early diggings. The irony is that there is no watercourse there using their definition in the regulations and the landscaping features they are now describing as a watercourse were ones that we put there some 35 years ago. The house is now therefore within their supposed setbacks so it seems that they are asking me to seek a variance to allow for that which was approved by them some time ago because a landscaping water feature was added by us after the house was built.

    I'm chuckling as I write this. I have done this for my own enjoyment and it never was intended to be a museum. The moment I finish putting in a tour bus parking lot, gift shop, cafe, hire staff, start charging admission and obtain millions in annual operating grants from various levels of government will be soon enough for them to start complaining about it. I suppose that if that is in fact what happened in Duncan, they have a reasonable basis for complaining about these activities in Wellington. Where were they 35 years ago when the first rails got laid? Oh yes, Gwyneth has answered that - no Google Earth at that time

    I'll toss a loonie into the wishing well (perhaps Mr. Brack) and see what happens.
    Perhaps if you can gather all your records together from the past years and show them to the RDN they might bugger off and leave you alone. An additional 'eye-witness' to events that have taken place there (like the fella who dug the trench many years back) may also help too.

    I see nothing but really great things that you are creating on your property. It's pretty clear to me that you have put a lot of effort and love into these projects. They are landscape ideas.

    Sheesh! I never knew the RDN could be so sticky. Perhaps they are trying to tie themselves closer to the city of Nanaimo and amalgamate

  2. #1812
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default public servant accountability

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenspot View Post
    Their letter wasn't signed. We need someone to villify on here.
    Okay, here is the second page with the signature. I wasn't going to post it but on second thought don't see why these public servants should not be named and held accountable.
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  3. #1813

    Default How Coal Is Formed

    From one of many sites on coal.

    COAL: Ancient Gift Serving Modern Man
    American Coal Foundation

    How Coal Is Formed

    Coal is called a fossil fuel because it was formed from the remains of vegetation that grew as long as 400 million years ago. It is often referred to as "buried sunshine," because the plants which formed coal captured energy from the sun through photosynthesis to create the compounds that make up plant tissues. The most important element in the plant material is carbon, which gives coal most of its energy.

    Most of our coal was formed about 300 million years ago, when much of the earth was covered by steamy swamps. As plants and trees died, their remains sank to the bottom of the swampy areas, accumulating layer upon layer and eventually forming a soggy, dense material called peat.

    Over long periods of time, the makeup of the earth's surface changed, and seas and great rivers caused deposits of sand, clay and other mineral matter to accumulate, burying the peat. Sandstone and other sedimentary rocks were formed, and the pressure caused by their weight squeezed water from the peat. Increasingly deeper burial and the heat associated with it gradually changed the material to coal. Scientists estimate that from 3 to 7 feet of compacted plant matter was required to form 1 foot of bituminous coal.

    Coal formation is a continuing process (some of our newest coal is a mere 1 million years old). Today, in areas such as the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina and Virginia, the Okefenokee Swamp of Georgia, and the Everglades in Florida, plant life decays and subsides, eventually to be covered by silts and sands and other matter. Perhaps millions of years from now, those areas will contain large coal beds.

  4. Default Compaction ratios of various coals from the Nanaimo coalified, as measured in place

    Quote Originally Posted by MDavis View Post
    From one of many sites on coal..... estimate that from 3 to 7 feet of compacted plant matter was required to form 1 foot of bituminous coal.
    The compaction ratio depends upon the nature of the original plant material, and the extent of its syndepositional permineralisation. In the course of mapping the Nanaimo coalfield over the years, I measured the ratios and found the following results:

    2.5:1 for an isolated coalified and permineralised 'palm' log exposed in Unit M5 gritstone of the Millstream Member of the Extension Formation, during blasting of the Nanaimo Parkway road cut south of Island Kenworth yard.

    3.4:1 for an isolated coalified 'cypress' (cf. Taxodium) log exposed in the fkior of the Cedar Bridge coal bed along the Duke Point Highway road cut about 50 metres east of the Cedar Road overpass. This coal lies within the Reserve Member of the Protection Formation

    5.2:1 for a lense of very stony dull-banded coal, possibly part of the 'disturbed' channel-complex coal within the Douglas Main coal zone as exposed in the mine-yard of Wellington-Extension No.10 Mine at South Wellington. This coal lies within the Newcastle Member of the Pender Formation.

    6.6:1 for a channel-filling lense of bright-banded coal lying between the Wellington and the Wellington Rider coal beds in the left-hand rib of the Main Conveyor Roadway of Wolf Mountain Colliery, just inside of the inner end of the steel-arched portion of that roadway. This coal lies within the undivided Northfield Member of the Extension Formation.

    6.9:1 for bright-banded, apparently-clean coal at the eroded edge of the Wellington No.2 ('Little Wellington' or 'Number 9') coal bed on the right-hand rib of Dunsmuir's 'Original Entry' at North Wellington. This coal lies within Unit N3 of the Northfield Member of the Extension Formation.

    I made quite a few more measurements than that, but at least there you have a range of values. I regret that I was never able to obtain a good value for the Newcastle coal bed.

    That's probably way more coal science than you ever wanted to read!

    -- gwyneth

  5. #1815


    Quote Originally Posted by gwyneth View Post
    That's probably way more coal science than you ever wanted to read!

    -- gwyneth

    Yeah, but it was awesome stuff! Thanks for your input, Gwyneth !!

  6. #1816

    Default Question for Gwyneth

    Hey Gwyneth.

    When I burn a wooden log (or coal) in the fire, the energy of the sun gets released again. But where does it go? And how does it settle?

    The energy just doesn't go away, does it? It must remain somewhere, perhaps in a different form to be reused or released again?
    Last edited by MDavis; 11-03-2011 at 07:19 PM. Reason: added "or coal"

  7. #1817
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    Got off on a tangent and found this video. I thought it was pretty cool and it looked like some of the video showed the style of mining and carts used in Nanaimo.

    Johnny Cash - 16 tons


  8. #1818
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Surrey Iron Railway origins of WCR?

    This is where I think Robert Dunsmuir got some of his original equipment from. The Surrey Iron Railway (SIR) ran from 1803 to 1846. I have a couple pieces of rail, one with marking "1811" that came from the Wellington 'old slope'. This is very old rail if Dunsmuir did in fact buy up the remains of the SIR to build his original Wellington Colliery Railroad (WCR) in the 1860s. We know from historical accounts that his main line from the mine to Departure Bay was made from flat strap iron fastened to wooden timber. However, that would not necessarily be the case in and around the mine itself where the "I" section rail profile wrought iron type of steel would more likely than flat iron strips have been in use, especially around curves such as mine are. To fit these pieces, I had to get them heated to red hot to make the bend adjustments otherwise they would have easily snapped. No way to bend them cold. This week, I've been visiting mine sites here east of Phoenix, Arizona in the Goldfield area where there are several artifacts that date back to about the 1840s. If these two pieces of iron are in fact of 1811 vintage, these would be the oldest operating rails anywhere in the world. They are presently located in Wellington (on the WCR) in the bottom right corner of the first image, forming the outside of the curve.

    Second image below is from an 1823 woodcut I pulled from wikepedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrey_Iron_Railway
    Image credit as follows:
    English: Watercolour showing the Surrey Iron Railway, the first public railway company , passing Chipstead Valley Road. Early 19th Century ( railway depicted closed in 1846). Source http://briscoe-smith.org.uk/thalia/Local_History.htm
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    Last edited by Peter Roosen; 11-27-2011 at 11:33 AM.

  9. #1819
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Campbell River

    Default S.i.r.

    200 year old rail in service! Awesome!

    Does the 1811 rail have SIR markings on it?

  10. #1820
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default 1850s-'60s Dunsmuir & Diggle / Wellington records

    There might be. I think there were other markings but hard to make out. Needed to use chalk a few years ago while the rails were laid out on a workbench to raise the "1811" from a couple places on the two pieces. Didn't figure out the prospective S.I.R. lineage until after they were installed. Might need to take them up again for re-examination. I was hoping someone would find a mid 1800s ship manifest or something from some remaining records of the Dunsmuir & Diggle / Wellington Colliery offices to shed some light on where Robert Dunsmuir obtained his early mining and railway equipment.

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