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Weatherbug, a weather tracking system headquartered in Germantown, MD, reported on 6 January 2006 that a lightning strike near the mine could have caused the explosion. Company equipment detected 100 lightning strikes in the region of the mine within 40 minutes of the explosion. A lightning strike with a positive charge of 35 kAmps was registered near the mouth of Sago mine at 6:26:36 am on 2 January 2006. A typical strike is 22 to 25 kAmps.

 

Dr. Martin Chapman, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech, found that two independent sensors recorded a minor seismic event, possibly that of the explosion itself, at 6:26:38 am on 2 January 2006.

 

On 13 January 2006, Ken Ward Jr. reported in The Charleston Gazette that the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training has authorized the use of “Omega blocks,” or foam blocks, to seal the mine. These blocks are capable of withholding pressures of five pounds per square inch. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration rules that seals must be made out of “solid concrete blocks” capable of withholding twenty pounds per square inch.

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