In March 1986 a house at Loscoe in Derbyshire was completely destroyed by a methane gas explosion, badly injuring the three occupants. Eight months later at a Public Inquiry, the sequence of events leading up to the incident was established and evidence produced to ascertain the origin of the methane. During the proceedings it became apparent that signs of ground heating had been detected approximately 100 m beyond the boundary of a near-by landfill some years before the explosion but that the phenomenon had been misinterpreted as a shallow burning coal seam. Had the geology of the area and the geochemistry of methane been known to the investigators at that time, it is possible that the landfill would have been identified as the source of methane and the Loscoe area protected from the dangers of uncontrolled gas migration.

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