Black Thunder and North Antelope coal mines

First posted
Monday December 4, 2006 07:08
Thursday May 24, 2007 19:53

An Inconvenient Truth is available on DVD.

Back link to Coal.

Photos taken Tuesday October 17, 2006 about 9 AM, temperature 29 degrees F.

Black Thunder operation complex. Photo taken from parking lot.

Truck is in parking lot.

Be thinking about EROEI [energy returned on energy invested] for this coal operation given, that among other energy expenditures, 926,000 gallons of fuel was consumed.

Six engine replacements?

After leaving the parking lot, I backtracked to see

There is a stop light system installed. These trucks pass every several minutes. I have a photo showing about three on the road you see at the same time.

North Antelope [as opposed to Antelope] mine is to the south and east of the Black Thunder/Jacobs Ranch mine.

Lots of antelope and deer grazing at the side of the road on way to North Antelope mine.

Signs warn of an audio signal will be sounded prior to blasting. Signs also advise to avoid orange toxic cloud [keep upwind] and don't touch toxic orange residue on ground.

Trucker overheard on CB radio commented on some sickly-looking deer.

North Antelope mine hole depth is impressive. Lots of overburden to remove - think EROEI.

Above was not posted on Monday December 3, 2006 because it appeared too dark on Gateway CRT monitor. Later viewing over a wireless network on a Toshiba LCD display showed photos to be much brighter. Importance of this photo is that a coal seam is seen in about the center of the photo. See bright line above seam.

Where did the energy to dig this hole come from? Read about explosives and natural gas.

What happens when natural gas depletes, possibly within five years? How are they going to dig then?


Draglines used in the above operation are powered by electricity likely generated from the coal you see. And surely require lots of electric power.

Dragline. Surface mining begins with the removal and stockpiling of the site's topsoil, follwed by the removal of “overburden,” or the rock lying above the coal seam.

010720 Huge dragline working in one of the open pit coal mines of the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.

The BE-1300 Dragline, originally built at Coal Creek, was walked across the prairie to Black Thunder.


Look at this positively: rate of coal depletion will slow when only energy derived from coal is used to power these operations.

Here's at the bottom.

U turn made to exit.

Here's reclaiming photo shot on ascending from the mine.

Two of the huge earth movers were at work.

Mitigation to damage done to the environment further reduces EROEI.

Note posts at side of road. Think SNOW and snow plowing.

Can you imaging driving one of the huge trucks you see here on an icy road!?

Our point is that only one of many possible problems can cause a disruption in coal supplies.

Coming into Black Thunder mine from Newcastle WY we observed a train stopped while several railroad crew were working on the track directly ahead of it.

Two pusher locomotives seen going south from North Antelope mine.

CO2 on the hoof.

We groped for words to possibly describe our energy plight. Then an email forwarded by legendary Taos, New Mexico pilot Fred Fair with a grammar lecture by Indian English teacher arrived. Try trouble.

Reasons for this essential non-gas-wasting trip was 1 to pursue ornithological interests on Saturday and Sunday starting October 14, 2006 around Milnor, ND.

Photo taken between Milnor and Wyndmere ND Sunday October 15, 2006.

And 2 to see cousin Alice [b 1920?] and her oldest sister Blanche the two remaining of five siblings.

Alice worked with her father and brother herding about 1,800 head of cattle in Minnesota in about 1937.

Alice is at the far left.

Above digital photo was taken Friday October 13, 2006 while going over Alice's photo collection.

Alice and her sister live about one mile from where they were born.

3, and most important, to take photos for this page.