Regional Horizontal Surface Displacements Due To Mining Beneath Severe Surface Topography

Hebblewhite, Bruce K.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Tower Colliery is a longwall mine operated by BHP Coal Illawarra Collieries, Southwest of Sydney, Australia It mines the Bulli Seam at a depth of approximately 450m. The surface topography overlying the mine consists of several steep-sided river gorges, up to 68m in depth, which run at oblique angles across a sloping terrain Apart from some light rural development, the surface land is essentially natural bushland, but is traversed by a major freeway. This crosses one of the gorges on twin, six-span, box-girder bridges, with bridge piers up to 55m in height. Consequently, a major surface subsidence monitoring program has been in place for several years now, including intensive conventional, GPS and E DM surveying, plus real-time monitoring of critical components of the bridge structure. Although the bridge and freeway are outside the conventional angle of draw' subsidence influence criteria, and have seen only negligible vertical deformation as a result of mining, there has been widespread evidence of regional horizontal deformation of the land surface, large distances away from the mining area The effect at the bridge has been well within acceptable tolerances, primarily because of the regional nature of the movements, with very little differential movement observed at the bridge piers Gorge closure and evidence of large headlands of land moving `en masse' have been observed. Horizontal movements of hundreds of millimetres have been recorded in some locations where gorge closure has been monitored. Possible explanations of these movements include one or a combination of mechanisms such as pre-mining stress relaxation. valley notch effects, valley bulging, regional joint patterns, movement toward active goaf areas, vertical gorge shearing' and shear failure of horizontal bedding planes below the surface This paper presents a case study of the regional horizontal ?subsidence displacements? measured during mining. and a discussion of the possible explanations for these phenomena
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