Time-Dependent Tunnel Deformation At Hartebeestfontein Mine

Bosman, J. D.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
The problems associated with squeezing rock conditions in tunnels are well known and have been extensively investigated in the past. Although squeezing conditions are predominantly found in tunnels developed in weak rock types it has been noted at the No. 6 Shaft of Hartebeestfontein Mine where the host rock consists of hard, brittle quartzites. This paper investigates typical time-dependent deformation mechanisms in the rock at Hartebeestfontein Mine. The paper will focus on observations made in a strike-orientated tunnel that intersected weak quartzite layers, that were sandwiched between two competent quartzite beds. The observed squeezing mechanism is dominated by creep along bedding planes with a soft talcaceous infilling that behaves in a clay-like fashion when saturated in water. Stress-induced deformation processes, some distance into the sidewall of the excavation, force the already fractured periphery of the excavation into the void. A laboratory study of the creep of intact rock and discontinuities collected at this site was conducted to characterize the time-dependent behaviour. The difference in creep rates between the two types of quartzite found at this site is described in the paper. Creep tests performed on the talcaceous infilling material found that its presence allows substantial shear creep along discontinuities. Attempts were also made to simulate the squeezing mechanism observed underground with numerical techniques. Due to the discontinuous nature of the mechanism described above, a viscoplastic displacement discontinuity technique was used as it allowed for the explicit simulation of discontinuity creep. The results of the modelling and how it compared with the observed behaviour are described in the paper. Environmental impact statement The work described in this paper will not cause any new, or contribute to any existing, hazards confronting the environment.
Full Article Download:
(1179 kb)