MINUTE OF THE EXTENT OF COAL-FIELD IN NORTHUMBERLAND AND DURHAM
The base line assumed, in the estimate laid before the House of Lords, by MR. HUGH TAYLOR, in 1829, was as follows:
"From the mouth of the Coquet, in Northumberland, to Castle Eden, in Durham, a distance of forth-eight miles." The view then taken has been remarkably verified, by pits being sunk close to the Coquet on the north, and winnings are now in progress, which prove that the coal-field extends, at least two miles to the south of Castle Eden, beyond which, southwards, no explorings have been made; but, from the depth and inclination of the coal beds, there is every reason to conclude that they continue much further in this direction.
The estimate referred to have a thickness of twelve feet of coal or eight feet of available mine; but, throughout, the coal-field is twenty-four feet.
This increased actual thickness shows that the estimated duration of 1727 years was formed, as intended, upon a most moderate calculation, and with the additional coal-field since ascertained, fully warrants the estimate standing in its present state, even though the consumption has increased from 3,500,000 tons to 6,000,000 tons; a portion of this increase, however (342,438 tons) consists of small coals exported foreign, which were formerly wasted.
The following are the respective depths at which the coal has been sunk to along the east coast:
South Shields.............200 fms.
Monk Wearmouth.......263 fms.
Murton Winning..........220 fms.
The foregoing indicates an inclination of the coal-measures to the south-east, which is the general dip of the strata in this district; and as the depth of the sea, within twenty miles of the coast, does not exceed forty-five fathoms, or, indeed, in any part across, is not more than sixty-five fathoms, there is every reason to believe that the formation extends considerably beneath the German Ocean.
Taking the same eastern base line, as before explained - namely, fifty miles in length, it would require an extension of little more than 14-1/2 miles into the sea to obtain an area equal to the unexcavated tract of coal in the estimate - namely 732 miles, and which, in the advanced state of mining science, engineering, and machinery, will, doubtless, be wrought when circumstances require.