Effects of Longwsll Subsidence on Escarpment Stability

Shea-Albin, Valois R.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Increasing pressure from State and Federal agencies to mitigate mining-induced subsidence damage to overlying structures has presented a unique problem to the coal industry in the western United States. Because sandstone escarpments are an environmental issue, millions of tons of coal reserves that underlie these escarpments risk being classified as unminable by regulatory agencies. At this time, the effect of subsidence on escarpments has not been well documented or characterized. The Bureau of Mines is using numerical modeling techniques to analyze escarpment response to longwall mining. Two- and three-dimensional finite element models have been constructed for a study area near Price, Utah, where longwall panels were mined near an escarpment. This status report includes preliminary results showing that the pattern of subsidence surrounding the escarpment can be simulated through numerical modeling. Models that include such structural details as joint and fracture patterns will better simulate subsidence patterns .and magnitude. By locating longwall panels strategically in relation to the escarpment, stability may be preserved throughout the mining process. Numerical modeling provides a method to analyze relatively quickly the effects of longwall panel location and resulting subsidence on escarpment stability. The goal is to provide a relatively accurate predictive tool for mine planning to determine if escarpment stability can be maintained while maximizing extraction of the coal reserves.
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