Mechanisms of Chimney Subsidence Over Abandoned Coal Mines
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 1987
Mining related subsidence is a major concern over abandoned shallow coal mines. Many of the subsidence prone areas are presently used or will be used in the future for residential housing development. Concern over mine subsidence is inhibiting the development of surface land uses on previously mined area. This concern prompted public officials to realize the need to develop guidelines which can be used to assess and reduce the risk of mine subsidence damage to building and other improvements. Subsidence and the associated ground movements must be defined before one can relate them to building damage. Surface movements resulting from underground coal mining occurs in two phases termed as: active subsidence and residual subsidence. Active subsidence refers to all surface movements occur in^ simultaneously with the mining operations, while residual subsidence is-that part of the surface deformation which occurs following the cessation of mining. Residual subsidence is the major concern over abandoned mine lands. The duration of residual subsidence is of particular importance from the standpoint of damage at the surface to structures built after the mine has been abandoned. Time spans during which surface subsidence may occur, vary markedly with the mining method being used. In total extraction methods, such as longwalls, subsidence is induced rapidly, beginning almost immediately after mining. Subsidence concurrent with coal extraction is desirable for a safe longwall mining operation. Usually subsidence is complete within a relatively short time. The remaining settlement occurs as residual subsidence due to the gradual compaction of the subsided ground. The relative proportion of the residual subsidence movements is dependent upon the presence of remnant pillars and roadside packs. rate of face advance and depth of workings. In partial extraction methods, such as with room-and-pillar systems. major occurrences of surface subsidence may be delayed for decades until the support pillars and/or the roof have substantially deteriorated and collapsed. The actual time involved depends on a number of factors such as the strength of coal, roof, and floor, extent of fracturing. presence of water, depth of workings, pillar size and percentage extraction. Consequently residual subsidence is more likely to occur over abandoned room-and-pillar mines. The following sections define subsidence over abandoned mines, review the proposed mechanisms, identify the controlling factors and examine the prediction methods.