The Influence Of Stream Valleys On Coal Mine Ground Control
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 1988
Over 50 mines of the Appalachian and Illinois Basins are presently experiencing poor ground conditions believed to be caused by overlying stream valleys. The Bureau of Mines is conducting research into the causes of this problem with the aim of developing a predictive method for determining the safe limits of mining beneath stream valleys. In addition, the factors that control instability in these regions will be analyzed to provide design guidelines for adjusting support requirements. This paper presents the theorized causes of poor ground conditions beneath stream valleys and compares the theories with the results of a Bureau study of the Birchfield Mine No. 1 and a preliminary investigation of the Davidson Mine, both of southern West Virginia. The Birchfield Mine excavated four main entries beneath a 50-ft wide stream with only 50 ft of overburden. The valley flood plain is over 500 ft wide, flanked by valley wall slopes of 25 deg and relief of over 950 ft. In-mine monitoring of strata movement and detailed geologic mapping revealed that roof rock strength was greatest under high cover and weakest along outcrops and beneath the valley, with localized areas of decreases in rock mass quality. To improve the rock mass quality beneath the stream and reduce the threat of inundation, an extensive drilling program was undertaken to inject grout into the overburden from the surface. As a result, mining beneath the stream was practically routine from a ground control perspective, and water was not encountered until mining had advanced to a point beneath the floodplain that had not been grouted. The only ground control problems which were encountered were entirely a result of localized poor rock mass quality. In contrast to the Birchfield Mine, the Davidson Mine experienced failure of intact roof rock at a depth of 300 ft beneath a V-notch shaped valley with no change in rock mass quality. Finite element analysis was conducted to study the premining in situ stress at the two sites. The results are discussed within this paper and provide insight into the causes for the types of failure seen beneath valleys of varying shapes and depths.