Stability And Stress Evaluation In Mines Using In-Seam Seismic Methods

Williams, E. M.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
The U.S. Bureau of Mines is investigating the use of in-seam seismic methods to monitor stress-induced changes in coal near the working face of longwall mines. Seismic surveys performed through a longwall panel and pillars near the face can provide valuable information on geologic anomalies, high stress regions, tailgate support performance and other conditions that could endanger miners or interrupt production. This paper describes the details of the equipment and data analysis techniques used, and the significant results obtained and their implications for ground control. Using seismic tomography, it is possible to conduct measurements on the pillar and reconstruct an image representing the internal velocity distribution. Successive measurements over several days identify changes in velocity attributable to changes in stress. Several field measurements were conducted at a western U.S. longwall mine to observe stress induced changes within the panel and pillars during mining. A permissible data acquisition system was designed to meet mine safety requirements for operation in gassy air. Certification from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) was obtained, and this approved system was used to monitor stress changes in several pillars as the longwall face passed during first panel mining. Tomographic surveys were completed across the longwall panel to map the apparent abutment stresses ahead of mining. Velocity distributions show an increase in vertical stress across the panel from the headgate to the tailgate. Additionally. a yield zone along the face near the tailgate and the forward abutment approximately 100 feet outby the face in the tailgate side of the panel were detected. These results agree well with data obtained from other instrumentation emplaced in the panel near the tailgate. Using velocities for both compressional and shear waves, the Poisson's ratio was calculated for the panel.
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