Development of Geotechnical Procedures for the Analysis of Mine Seismicity and Pillar Designs

Maleki, Hamid
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2003
Mining in the Book Cliffs Coal Field of Utah has historically been associated with seismicity because of high-stress environments and the presence of stiff, competent rocks. Recognizing the geotechnical risks in this coal field, mine engineers have dedicated considerable resources to the study of mine seismicity. In spite of these efforts, there are no engineering procedures for assessing mine seismicity for a new property and in developing mine designs. This paper presents the results of ongoing geotechnical monitoring and stress analyses at a western U.S. coal mine. The intent is to demonstrate the application of geotechnical methodologies in evaluating mine seismicity and stress-control technologies including evolutions in yield pillar designs for variable topographic conditions of the Book Cliffs Coal Field. We show that narrow yield pillars are quite effective in limiting strain energy accumulation along the gateroads and thus the potential for pillar seismicity. At the same time, the pillars provide sufficient resistance to control roof-floor convergence at the headgate, gradually unloading to residual strength inby the face position. Lagging, nonuniform caving of overburden rocks results in periodic stress concentrations at the tailgate comer. The sudden release of strain energy triggers sudden failure of critically loaded coal in this area of the high stress gradient. The three-entry gate pillar configuration promotes formation of long cantilevers and load transfer to the tailgate, contributing to formation of cutters and coal bumps. The source of seismicity is investigated while simulating slip along three sets of joints in two stiff stratigraphic units during multipanel extraction.
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