Effect Of High-Extraction Coal Mining On Surface And Ground Waters

Kendorski, Francis S.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
High-extraction mining of coal and other stratified minerals has a predictable effect on the surface and subsurface. Impacts on ground waters in overlying strata and on surface waters, that are associated with overlying sequential zones of collapse, fracturing, aquiclude, constrained strata, and surface disturbances can be anticipated. Since first quantified around 1979 in Bureau of Mines sponsored contract research work and others (and often adopted by state regulators), with zone extents based upon multiples of mined seam height of 24 to over 60 for the fractured zone, much new data have become available. In examining the sources of data and the methods and intents of the researchers of over 65 case histories, it became apparent that the strata behaviors were being confused with overlapping vertical extents reported for the fractured zones and aquiclude zones depending on whether the researcher was interested in water intrusion into the mine or in water loss from surface or ground waters. These more recent data, and critical examination of existing data, have led to the realization that the former "Aquiclude Zone" defined for its ability to prevent or minimize the intrusion of ground or surface waters into mines has another important character in increasing storage of surface and shallow ground waters in response to mining with no permanent loss of waters. This zone is here named the "Dilated Zone." The existence of the dilated zone explains the ratios of up to 60 times the mined thickness. Surface and ground waters can drain into this zone, but seldom into the mine, and can eventually be recovered through closing of dilations by mine subsidence progression away from the area, or filling of the additional void space created, or both. A revised model has been developed which accommodates the available data, by modifying the zones as follows: ? collapse and disaggregation extending 6 to 10 times the mined thickness above the panel ? continuous fracturing extending approximately 24 times the mined thickness above the panel, allowing temporary drainage of intersected surface and ground waters ? development of a zone of dilated, increased storativity, and leaky strata with little enhanced vertical permeability from 24 to 60 times the mined thickness above the panel above the continuous fracturing zone, and below the constrained or surface effects zones, whose thickness or existence is dictated by the zones above and below ? maintenance of a constrained but leaky zone above the dilated zone and below the surface effects zone, whose thickness or existence is dictated by the zones above and below ? limited surface fracturing in areas of extension extending up to 50 ft or so beneath the ground surface
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