Piping Induced Subsidence Over An Underground Mime

Johnson, Allan M.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
Since 1974 researchers at Michigan Technological University have been studying mine subsidence in the Iron River District of Northern Michigan. The district, which was active from 1881-1978, has had numerous cases of subsidence. Much of the subsidence resulted from rock mass failure but some appeared to have developed primarily in the thick glacial overburden which is a typical feature of this area. This latter observation led to the recognition that some of the surface subsidence was due to piping; i .e., loss of overburden material to the mine voids by groundwater flow (Johnson and Frantti, 1978). The Sherwood Mine was the last mine to operate in the district. With its closedown scheduled for late summer of 1978, a unique opportunity to monitor the mine as it flooded was presented. It was reasoned that with the cessation of pumping, groundwater would rise in the overburden and the mine would flood. The physical characteristics of the mine were favorable for piping to occur as the mine flooded. With the permission of Inland Steel Mining Company and the support of the U. S. Bureau of Mines, a project to monitor the Sherwood Mine for piping subsidence began in June of 1978. This paper present aspects of this study pertinent to the piping-induced subsidence events which occurred at the Sherwood Mine in 1980 and 1981, including acoustic emission monitoring of the subsidence activity, hydrologic monitoring of the groundwater regime and the flooding mine, laboratory modeling of the piping mechanism, and analytic procedures which are under development.
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