Hughes bore hole

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Hughes bore hole, Portage Township, Pennsylvania

The Hughes borehole is an acid mine drainage site located near the southwest central borough of Portage, Pennsylvania in Cambria County. In the 1920s, a hole was drilled in order to remove water from the myriad coal mines in the area. In the 1950s, the bore hole was capped, but in the 1970s, enough pressure was established to blow off the cap. As a result, an estimated volume of water in the range of 800 to 3,500 gallons per minute[1] flows from the bore hole. It is estimated that a daily amount of 8,000 pounds of dissolved metals[2] has flooded a 6-acre (24,000 m2) area and pollutes the nearby Little Conemaugh River.

Hughes bore hole - part of the devastated area

Today, this devastated area has been compared with that of the Yellowstone Mud Pots and resembles an area of eerie beauty. All that remains is bare flooded and yellowish red soil periodically spotted with dead standing trees. It also contains a large amount of green iron eating algae that adds to the color of the area.

Efforts are currently underway in an attempt to mitigate the situation.


  1. ^ "AMD & ART Hughes Bore hole". Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  2. ^ "Stonycreek - Conemaugh River Improvement Project". Archived from the original on 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2008-05-08.

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