Oddly enough, there are no photos of the burning coal vein in this post.
That’s because this particular coal vein burned from 1951-1977 – 26 years. Something to sink in – there was a natural fire that lasted for 26 years. That’s pretty amazing in my book.
Back in the day visitors could see anything from smoke to glowing coals to burning flames – all depending on the day and activity within the seam. According to the National Park Service some visitors even roasted marshmallows over the seam!
What there is to see is an interesting history of the area along with geological highlights to help tourists understand why this area is preserved as a National Park.
Lignite (the least energy-efficient) coal is prevalent in seams in this area, very distinctive black lines in the stripes of the sedimentary layers.
Formed from compressed peat moss, it is most widely used form of coal used in electricity production (anthracite > bituminous > subbituminous > lignite) but is the worst polluter due to the amount of coal that must be burned for each unit of energy produced.
While we saw many excellent layer specimens elsewhere in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, there were none here in this coal vein that were camera-worthy, hence the flora and fauna photos captured instead.
For day-trippers or overnighters visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park, this one should definitely be on your list as it is a relatively short hike and very high bang for the buck.

I Promise I’ll Call

I Promise I'll Call
I make no judgments here…

Rough Life

Rough Life along the burning coal vein
Sometimes it’s rough out here


It’s beautiful, but not great if you’re jumpy about things brushing against you!

Bit Of Yellow

Bit Of Yellow near the Coal Vein
Just a nice yellow flash

Crawling Along

Crawling Along near the Coal Vein
I love these big caterpillars

Touch Me Not

Touch Me Not
A prickly pear cactus protects it’s blossom with plenty of spikes

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