Illinois scientists have discovered evidence of coal mining in what is now Springfield. The state's geological survey, based at the University of Illinois, has been updating its coal mine maps, but a Department of Natural Resources statement says the 5500-plus mines which have operated in the state since 1850 are only about half mapped, with the older maps deteriorating.
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“The Illinois Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund contacted us,” said Scott Elrick, acting head of the coal and petroleum section of the survey, “and said, you know, we've got some subsidence claims in this area, and we don't show any mine maps. Would you take a second look?” Elrick says the area in question had been marked “final map.” The discovery, he says, is akin to learning of long-lost cousins years after a great-grandfather insisted there were none.