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How can one find whether or not there is enough oxygen for breathing present inside a (dry) well of diameter 1 m at a depth of 50 m?

Many people in Nepal are killed while cleaning wells because of a lack of oxygen.

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  • $\begingroup$ If I understand you correctly, you want to ask if there is free oxygen for breathing present deep in a dry well, right? $\endgroup$ – ManishEarth Jan 19 '13 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ If this is for an actual application, please use whatever answer you get as a starting point for a consultation with an expert on such matters. $\endgroup$ – jonsca Jan 20 '13 at 1:48
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    $\begingroup$ is this a theoretical problem or practical one, the data seems as if it is for theoretical purpose. $\endgroup$ – Aditya Sriram Jan 20 '13 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ Dangle a candle into the well and observe whether it goes out at the bottom. $\endgroup$ – matt_black Mar 28 '17 at 15:06
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The ideal solution would be a single gas personal detector, such as this one (it's only the first example I found, I don't know this brand, but there are many equivalent apparatuses from other vendors).

While digital personal detectors are expensive ($200+ range), there are simpler systems which also provide some basic safety (better than nothing). The Davy lamp is perhaps the best known example of these, and it was a huge breakthrough in mine safety when it was popularized after 1815.

Davy lamp
(Source: http://lindal-in-furness.co.uk/MinersLamps/MinersLamp.jpg)

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  • $\begingroup$ The Davy lamp isn't an oxygen detector (or wasn't designed to be). It is designed to prevent the lamp flame from igniting flammable gasses that are often present in mines. If the lamp goes out it is a sign there isn't enough oxygen, but you would probably already be unconscious at that point so use as a detector of low oxygen is a little futile. $\endgroup$ – matt_black Mar 28 '17 at 15:05

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