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Coal shafts could go hundreds of feet into the ground. Once a coal seam was found, the miners dug horizontally. However, underground the miners faced very real and great dangers. even with Watt’s improved steam engine, flooding was a real problem in mine explosive gas (called fire damp) would be found the deeper the miners got. One spark from a digging miner’s pick axe or candle could be disastrous poison gas was also found underground pit collapses were common; the sheer weight of the ground above a worked coal seam was colossal and mines were only held up by wooden beams called props.