Evaluation Of Surface Subsidence Potential Along A Pipeline Due To Abandoned Coal Mine Works

Vandergrift, Thomas L.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
With the inevitable expansion of homes, businesses, and infrastructure in coal mining regions, the potential for future subsidence above abandoned mines is of increasing concern. Of particular concern are areas underlain by room-and-pillar coal mines. Unlike areas above longwall mines, where total extraction causes subsidence in a predictable and timely manner, subsidence above room-and-pillar mines is difficult to predict and may be active for many decades. As part of a geotechnical assessment of a water pipeline replacement project, NSA Engineering recently performed an evaluation of tong-terns subsidence potential along the proposed alignment due to time¬dependent failure of underlying room-and-pillar workings. The alignment of the replacement pipeline closely follows an existing concrete pipeline, which lies 150 11 to 300 fl above workings that both pre- and post-date the pipeline. Annual surveys along the existing alignment indicate that some subsidence has occurred, primarily from partial pillaring performed in the early 1980's, but that this subsidence is not active. Using the boundary-clement code LAMODEL as the primary analysis tool, NSA followed a three-step approach to estimate future subsidence impacts on the replacement pipeline. First, historical information for the mine was compiled, allowing for calibration of models to actual field conditions. Then, numerical models of workings directly under and adjacent to the proposed alignment were nun, with model input parameters varied until resulting loading patterns matched historical data, and subsidence in the model approximated that measured along survey lines. Finally, time-dependent deterioration of coal pillars was simulated by decreasing the coal strength in the calibrated model until a realistic "worst-case" condition (stability of barriers, but Yielding of production pillars and pillar remnants) was attained. Subsidence from the previous calibrated model was then subtracted from that of the worst case model to estimate future subsidence and related ground movement parameters that slay occur along the proposed alignment. The replacement pipeline design, incorporating couplings capable of withstanding the ground movements predicted, is now being finalized.
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