Underground High Resolution Seismic Method As A Low Cost Alternative For Mapping Sandstone Replacement Channels In Coal Mines
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 1994
Sandstone paleo-channels encountered during coal mining operation can significantly slow down the advance in mining, and often completely shut-down coal mine production, with consequent extensive economic losses to the mine operator. Definition of the encountered channel usually involves intensive drilling; vertically from the surface and/or horizontally from underground vantage points. Coal operators with limited resources often resort to exploration by extending mine faces toward the channel. Both drilling and underground mining exploration are prohibitively expensive and usually provide only partial information about the location, size and shape of the sandstone channel. A low cost alternative which can also provide a more comprehensive picture of the channel is the application of Underground High Resolution Seismic Methods (UHRSM) developed and successfully tested by GECOH Exploration. UHRSM applies surface seismic reflection technology rotated as needed (usually 90 degrees) to accommodate the faces of the exposed channel, coal rib, or coal in front of the inclusion (sandstone channel, etc.). This entails placing high frequency seismic sources and geophones horizontally across these exposed faces. Refraction and reflection events from the front and back of the channel are isolated, analyzed and inverted, to calculate the channel's location and geometry. This paper presents a summary of the geophysical exploration technique and two case history examples where it was applied. In the first case, the accuracy of the technique was verified through subsequent mining. Mining is yet to commence in the second case. Both cases were applied to room-and-pillar nines where the irregular rib lines significantly extended the data processing effort. This suggests that UHRSM will find the easiest application when used along straight rib lines, but that is not a requisite to the application. The UHRSM should find ready application in longwall mining to delineate sandstone channels and other non-coal inclusions in the middle of the panels or ahead of the gate road faces.