Cause of Super Heated Ground

Posted on June 4, 2008  Comments (0)

Unexplained ground heat burns boy’s feet

There was no fire, but the ground was hot enough in a Colorado Springs park to burn through an eight year old boy’s shoes and cause at least second degree burns on his feet.

After the boy was treated and sent to the hospital firefighters took surface readings that showed hard to believe temperatures. According to Chief Matthews, “The highest temperature we got at the surface of the soil with the sun shining on it was 800 degrees, which is pretty darn significant. Radiant heat from the sun will get it up around 150, 160 degrees, but not to that level.”

Firefighters have taped off the area and are monitoring it until they can figure out what’s causing the ground to get so hot. Tests by hazmat team members show there are no dangerous gases. Crews have cut a fire-line around the area to prevent the heat from potentially starting a wildfire.

Early assessments show the problem area is coal dust. Neighbors say the area has appeared blackened as long as they can remember. What has to be determined is if it was dumped here years ago or if there’s something happening underground. Crews from the state geological are on the way to figure out an explanation.

So can you figure it out? I was happy I could (if not I didn’t I would just leave off this sentence).

Cause of super-heated ground found

What they found has a relatively simple solution according to Kurt Schroeder with Colorado Springs Parks, “What the state representatives indicated to us is that the coal spoil that’s been on top of the ground for years and years reacts with the sun, heat of the sun and it spontaneously combusts.”

Because it’s coal refuse likely dumped at this spot years ago, the recommendation from geologists is capping it. Crews will dump two feet of fill over the spot to keep the sun causing the coal remnants from igniting again.

Good old scientific thinking leads to understanding what happens in the world around us. See more posts with scientific explanations for what we experience.

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