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How a small town trash fire led to a different kind of mining in coal country

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How a small town trash fire led to a different kind of mining in coal country

  1. 1. Biology on Tap Jackson Sorensen &Taylor Dunivin How a small town trash fire led to a different kind of mining in coal country
  2. 2. Centralia, Pennsylvania
  3. 3. • 1856 Locust run Mine and Coal Ridge Mine • Bustling town of 2,761 people in 1890 – 7 Churches – 2Theaters – 5 hotels – 27 Saloons – 0 Dedicated Landfills The rise and fall of Centralia
  4. 4. The year of the dumpster fire
  5. 5. WARNING SCIENCE AHEAD!
  6. 6. What makes fire? + + =
  7. 7. Or in other words… + + = COAL
  8. 8. Attempt to put out the fire #1: Excavation + + = COAL
  9. 9. Attempt to put out the fire #1: Smothering + + = COAL
  10. 10. Underground coal fire 150ft COAL Strip mine
  11. 11. The surface of coal fires SteamFissures Vents 140°F
  12. 12. A town at risk
  13. 13. A town at risk
  14. 14. From bustling town to ghost town BeforeBefore After After
  15. 15. Post-Apocalyptic wasteland + - TOXINS PEOPLE = Centralia, PA
  16. 16. Post-Apocalyptic wasteland Food Weapons Clean Water
  17. 17. Microbes Surviving in Centralia, PA Food WeaponsClean Water Pint of Beer Shaun of the Dead Porridge The Matrix Spiky Cars Mad Max: Fury Road Decomposition Bioremediation Antibiotics
  18. 18. We’re running out of antibiotics
  19. 19. From bustling town to ghost townMost antibiotics are from soil microbes BacillusStreptomyces
  20. 20. Mining Centralia for antibiotics Unknown! • Extreme environment • Untested
  21. 21. From devastation to medication
  22. 22. Thank you!

Editor's Notes

  • Sulfur smell (like rotton eggs)
  • This is todd domboski, a 12-year-old centralia resident in 1981 (so almost two decades since the fire started). He was walking in his home town when all of a sudden the ground gave out beneath him! He was knee deep in wet mud with HOT steam spewing up all around him. Luckily he held onto this tree root because moments later, the ground began to sink even more. He yelled for help until his cousin found him and pulled him out. Todd is a perfect example of the real danger centralia residents were in… the ground could collapse beneath their feet at any time… he was in even more danger though
  • Officials later checked and that steam was full of deadly levels of carbon monoxide… even with the tree branch, Todd could have died from suffocation… outside!
    These toxic gases coming up with the steam also contained well known poisons such as arsenic, mercury, and lead

    It was therefore no longer safe to live in Centralia… t
  • This one bustling town was then bough up by the government and flattened…
  • We’re especially interested in these “weapons” or antibiotics that might be produced in centralia because we’re running out! With superbugs on the rise and less antibiotics discovered each year, it’s important to think of creative ways to find more antibiotics…
  • Soil is a good place to start. In fact, most antibiotics come from soil microbes
    Streptomyces produce antibiotics that help with pneumoniea and pink eye
    Bacillus produce antibiotics that make up neosporin
  • Centralia soils are extreme with their high temperatures toxins like arsenic. This makes these soils unique but untested!

    Centralia bacteria could be harboring new antibiotics as their weapons in a post-apocolyptic world ! We just need to find them…
  • This makes a new type of mining in Centralia – mining for antibiotics! Here’s a picture of our lab in Centralia in 2015 mining for these life-saving, antibiotic producing bacteria.
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