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Crews uncover mine shafts at site of new Joplin High School - KOAM TV 7

Crews uncover mine shafts at site of new Joplin High School

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Excavation crews uncover mine shafts on the Joplin High School property.

At least six holes from presumed mining activity create additional work at the new Joplin High School construction site.

The holes were found in a cluster along the Grand Street side of the property as crews stripped soil.

Three in a row are each more than 20 feet below street elevation and contain water.

One of the six was known before site work started and has been capped in a process that uses steel rebar and concrete to create a bridge over the shaft.

Another shaft is topped by a wood lining, known as cribbing.

"The cribbing was for one keeping the dirt from collapsing on the shaft and also too, it was to keep as they would dig up waste rock and bring it to the top," says Christopher Wiseman of the Joplin Mineral Museum.  "That would keep that waste rock from sliding back into the shaft and causing damage or filling in the shaft."

Joplin Schools officials say preliminary drilling was done before site work began.

Individualized caps will be designed for each shaft and the fix work will be bid out, since five of the holes were a surprise and not part of the original contract.

Mining maps show it's an area where, at the minimum, lead and zinc prospecting occurred.  Wiseman says the shafts were likely there before mining moved to Picher in the 1930's.

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