2010 Science News: Chilean Miners Trapped
Major science news stories, from the BP oil spill to the Chilean miners trapped underground
by Catherine McNiff
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Life Underground in Chile
On Aug. 5, 2010, a gold and copper mine in northern Chile suffered a cave-in, trapping 33 miners half a mile underground. The men suffered stifling heat and an uncertain fate for 17 days before a drill broke through the ceiling of their chamber, signaling their eventual release. Through this bore hole, the miners were able to communicate with their supporters above ground and receive vital nutrition. The rescue process was a painstaking one; care had to be taken to protect the integrity of the ventilation shafts to avoid another cave-in.
Finally, after spending 68 days trapped underground, and a massive, multi-million dollar rescue operation, the first of the 33 Chilean miners was rescued from the mine on Oct. 12, 2010. He was pulled to safety via a capsule made for the rescue mission. The rest of the miners were carried to safety over the next 24 hours.
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