One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Methane, especially as forming an explosive mixture with air in coal mines.
- ‘Eruptions of natural gas were observed from very early times and the dangers of firedamp in mines were soon realized.’
- ‘The land, off Newhill Road in Monk Bretton, Barnsley, is one of the worst areas in the country to be affected by methane gas - known by miners as firedamp - leaching through the ground from disused mine workings.’
- ‘As the coal was worked, large cavities were left which filled with firedamp.’
- ‘Underground in caves there was never really much need for running unless careful planning failed and a shaft fell in, or a patch of firedamp or bad air turned up.’
- ‘Once, 14-year-olds went down the pit and were vulnerable to explosions of firedamp and coal dust, to rock falls and inrushes of clay, sand and water.’
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