The Dorial Disaster, also known as the Disaster of Dorial Mine or the Dorial Mine Disaster, was a catastrophic event which occurred in -3 CE which highlighted the dangers of Haelenite mining.
Prior to its shutdown, Dorial Mine was a Shadowland Mine, located just off the edge of the Dewan Discontinuity. Workers would travel via Terra Alta to the Discontinuity and descend to the land immediately below. The region was named after the mine, which in turn was named after Marcus Dorial, the Patron-Financier. The primary product of the Dorial Mine was raw and processed Haelenite, along with smelted eyurn tailings distributed to secondary smelters and artificers as construction and artificing materials. When the Dorial Mine began operating in -10 CE, safety measures for the mining and storage for the highly lightbringing and explosive raw Haelenite were already inadequate. This was due to budget cutbacks on the part of Dorial's financing. As early as -8 CE Dorial Mine had a higher rate of employee turnover than any other industry in the whole of Efrafe, and a large percentage of this was due to work-related fatalities. A post-disaster study of the mine found that 80% of its facilities stood below the minimum standards of safety set by the Terra Altan Mining Authority. In fact, 45% of Dorial Mine's facilities were deemed unsuitable for reclamation and were condemned to an indefinitely extended vitrification order. Marcus Dorial was tried by various courts on the charges Neglect and Abuse of All Forms of Life, Indirect Mass Murder and Unethical Patronage. In the ruling of -1 CE these charges were commuted to Unsafe Business Practices and Dorial was fined one slapontherist .
On the fourth day of Autumnus, -3 CE, threatsensing Apparatus located near the Dewan Discontinuity registered a cloud of lightbringing dust particles driven upwards from the Shadowlands. While too diffuse to cause lightbringer disease, the presence of the dust indicated some form of serious accident below. The lightbringing contamination of the dust in itself meant that the accident had involved or originated in the mining or processing of the Haelenite, increasing the urgency of the crisis nearly a thousandfold. Due to the lightbringing that raw Haelenite contains, it is standard procedure to store it in silos shielded with dense metals in order to prevent its escape. If these metals protected the silo ineffectively or the Haelenite itself was allowed to contain too much lightbringing, a release into the environment would be inevitable. However, while viewing Apparatus showed no sign of distress or damage in the facilities below, they also failed to show any sign of life or activity. A group of scholars well versed in the study of lightbringing materials were chosen to direct an investigation the next day, as night was falling.
However, as night fell, it became much clearer that the Dorial Mine had undergone a much worse disaster than anticipated. Far under the lip of the Discontinuity, where the Apparatus had been unable to view, were the mine entrance and raw storage plants for the Haelenite. As the skies darkened, it became increasingly clear that there were fires in that area, the glow of which was previously unseen due to daylight reducing the night-vision of both observers and Apparatus. As the night wore on, the fires increased to an intensity where the flames could be seen with the naked eye. However, with the exception of one unorthodox experiment, the viewing Apparatus were all unable to adjust their angles in order to view the disaster properly. The unorthodox experiment involved lowering the Apparatus into the discontinuity by its spirit-cable. However, it was unable to transmit any high-resolution images before the lightbringing levels energized the Ceraunic Spirit in the spirit-cable to combustion, causing the Apparatus to fall to the ground below. The fact that there were no signs of glotubes in the area was likely due to the same reason.
The following morning, threatsensor Apparatus were picking up a great deal more lightbringing dust and ash, presumably from the fire which had burned itself out in the night. Viewing Apparatus were still unable to discern signs of life as the investigators donned anti-lightbringing garb and prepared to travel to the area via a prototype miniature Stoneship, also known as a 'stoneboat'. The spirit-tubes were specially shielded in order to prevent a catastrophic stranding below.
Once landed, it became clear that when the fire broke out, the majority of workers had been inside the mines. The conflagration began in the silo closest to the mine entrance, Silo 'Arphen'. A cursory examination showed that it had been plated with only a thin sheet of the cheapest shielding available, only barely being capable of stopping its lightbringing cargo from discharging its energy. It is unknown precisely what form the initial breach took or in fact the precise date of the incident, although the investigation's data dated the lightbringing contamination at having peaked approximately late Orsiracticus. This spike would have immediately followed the first lightbringing breach. It is possible that the breach or criticality occurred during the celebrations of Autumnox, when most workers would have been absent from the site, and thus allowed to reach disastrous levels. Once the Haelenite was allowed to release its lightbringing it naturally did it quicker and more vigorously, leading to a chain reaction and ignition. The fire then spread to storage silos Belten, Caryan, Daletan, Elphelen, Faryan, Girinan and Hemelen. In addition, the lightbringing pervading the air caused the Haelenite veins in the mine itself to undergo the same chain reaction, collapsing most of the mine's arterial shafts to collapse and cave in under the explosions. It is theorized that the Ceraunic Spirit in the glotubes illuminating the mines were combusted by the high lightbringing levels, sparking the raw Haelenite to do the same.
There were no survivors. All of the workers were found dead from lightbringer poisoning, burns, smoke inhalation or a combination of all three, and the mine's sign-in ledger was destroyed in the fire. Only the families of those whose bodies have been found have been compensated at all, and that very little. However, the Dorial Disaster made clear the dangers of Haelenite mining, and with the exception of illicit Shadowlands operations, all Haelenite mining and processing has ceased as of -1 CE. In addition to this the effects of long-term exposure to high amounts of lightbringing were made common knowledge to the public whereas before such had only been discussed in academic circles. While most processed artifices containing processed Haelenite are safe to handle, as the lightbringing is drained during the processing of the raw material, appraisers and artificers have since made a roaring trade in examining and confirming the safety of both modern items and family heirlooms.
- ↑ (pronounced SLAP-on-the-WRIST)
- ↑ *cough*-adioactiv-*cough*(
- ↑ The silos were labeled according to Alltongue's arphenbel, or alphabet.
- ↑ Idinen was the only silo to survive, being farthest from Arphen and suffering only minimal shielding damage.