Recent Developments In Subsidence Prediction And Control For The Eastern U.S. Coalfields
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 1984
Underground mining will disturb the natural equilibrium of the rock mass, causing significant stress redistributions in the vicinity of the excavation with corresponding horizontal and vertical displacements. Subsidence of the ground occurs when these displacements propagate from the mine opening, through the overlying strata, to the surface. Such ground movements may take either of two general forms: a sudden and sometimes violent collapse, or a more gradual and progressive ground movement. The former, characterized by localized failure of roof or pillar in old, shallow room and pillar workings, is rather unpredictable and difficult to analyze. As a result, most control measures are directed toward the latter type of movement, which is associated with the fracture and flow of the strata overlying longwall and high-extraction room and pillar systems, resulting in horizontal and vertical strains in the affected area. Such ground movements can often cause considerable surface disturbances ranging from simple land settlement to severe structural damage. Due to the increasing incidence of this phenomenon in more populated areas and the rising awareness of the problem, it has become necessary to establish a balance between the development of mineral resources and the protection of the environment and society. This paper presents a summary of the major findings derived from a substantial research effort on mining subsidence carried out, during the past few years, in the southern Appalachian coalfield. The research program encompassed the following major tasks: identification of the most significant factor influencing ground movements above mined openings, collection of subsidence case studies for the southern Appalachian coalfield, development of subsidence and strain prediction techniques for that region and initiation of a subsidence monitoring program in southwestern Virginia.