Application Of Seismic Tomography For Assessing Yield Pillar Stress Conditions

Friedel, Michael J.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
The fundamental problems associated with ground control reflect the inability of mining personnel to "see" the development of anomalous conditions. Toward this end, the U. S. Bureau of Mines is investigating the application of seismic refraction tomography for imaging the process of pillar yielding, at the Foidel Creek coal mine, near Steamboat Springs, CO. The inherent three-dimensional problem of imaging coal pillar stress is reduced to a single plane by considering only the stress transmitted from the pillar to the adjacent floor rock. This approach exploits the fact that refracted seismic energy is essentially confined to the adjacent higher velocity sandstone strata. The tomographic analysis using ray-tracing based on wavefront migration resulted in a robust P-wave tomogram from which regions of high velocity indicate zones of high stress concentration, whereas low velocity zones indicate regions of stress relief. The interpreted region of high stress concentration occurs at the pillar end nearest to the working face of the adjacent longwall panel. This finding is corroborated by vertical pressure cell measurements recorded in the pillar. The stress diminishes toward the pillar perimeter with local minima correlating to the locations of observed pillar spalling. Time-sequence monitoring, as the longwall face advances, is recommended for evaluating changing stress conditions.
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