Mining provides the foundation for most of America’s everyday lives. Most buildings and roads are only made possible by the materials that miners extract from the Earth. Even turning on a light is made possible by mining, as nearly 50% of electric power in the United States is generated by coal. Furthermore, 65 different minerals are used to produce a modern computer, and most of those minerals must be mined. Mining in the United States provides invaluable resources such as iron, coal, copper, zinc, soda ash, sulfur, gold, and beryllium.
While mining is so important for the livelihood of America, it is not without its dangers and drawbacks. Extracting volatile materials from underground is fundamentally dangerous. This infographic explores the most catastrophic mining disasters since 1960, the majority of them occurring in coal mines. Explosions are responsible for most of the catastrophes, and sadly, hundreds of lives have been lost due to these mining disasters.