A Study of Potential Fault Reactivation and Water Intrusion at a Longwall Coal Mine in Appalachia

Kendorski, Francis
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2003
A longwall coal mine in Appalachia about 1,500 ft deep encountered a fault while developing a new longwall panel. The fault extended from mining depth to the surface near a secondary road and drainage. The fault was located inside the anticipated angle of draw within the mined panel and gob. The fault extended vertically out and up, away from the panel, caved zone, and gob at nearly the angle of draw: the fault very nearly following the angle of draw. It was initially thought that "fault reactivation" could possibly occur. Fault reactivation is the phenomenon of having mining subsidence localized along a fault leading to a "reactivation" of the fault and shearing and displacement along the fault. Such fault reactivation would disrupt and deform the fault plane beyond the normal angle of influence of the subsidence trough, and may provide a conduit for any ground and surface waters to reach the mine. We contacted all operators of longwall mines in Appalachia to determine if any Appalachian longwall mines had ever experienced fault reactivation, and teamed that none had experienced the phenomenon. After studies of possible water intrusion quantities and rates based upon in-fault pump tests, which indicated that water intrusion rates should be manageable, and the prior experience that faults in this particular area were usually barriers to water flow, mining proceeded with caution and monitoring. Mining was successful with no noticeable increase in water inflow rates, and no measurable off-setting of the fault exposure on the surface. It can be concluded that the fault did not reactivate due to its relationship to the mining sequence.
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