Application Of Seismic Tomography In Underground Mining

Scott, D. F.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 13
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1996
Seismic tomography, as used in mining, is based on the principle that highly stressed rock will demonstrate relatively higher P-wave velocities than rock under less stress. A decrease or increase in stress over time can be verified by comparing successive tomograms. Personnel at the Spokane Research Center have been investigating the use of seismic tomography to identify stress in remnant ore pillars in deep (greater than 1220 m) underground mines. In this process, three-dimensional seismic surveys are conducted in a pillar between mine levels. A sledgehammer is used to generate P-waves, which are recorded by geophones connected to a stacking signal seismograph capable of collecting and storing the P-wave data. Travel times are input into a spreadsheet, and apparent velocities are then generated and merged into imaging software. Mine workings are superimposed over apparent P-wave velocity contours to generate a final tomographic image. Results of a seismic tomographic survey at the Sunshine Mine, Kellogg, ID, indicate that low- velocity areas (low stress) are associated with mine workings and high-velocity areas (higher stress) are associated with areas where no mining has taken place. A high stress gradient was identified in an area where ground failed. From this tomographic survey, as well as four earlier surveys at other deep underground mines, a method was developed to identify relative stress in remnant ore pillars. This information is useful in making decisions about miner safety when mining such ore pillars.
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