Surface Structural Damages

Peng, Syd S. ; Centofanti, K. ; Luo, Yi ; Ma, W. M. ; Su, Daniel W. H. ; Zhong, W. L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
5.1 INTRODUCTION There are several types of surface ground disturbances, each of which is immediately transmitted to surface structures and causes damage of various forms, depending on the location of the structures in the subsidence basin. Many criteria have also been proposed for defining the potential structural damage. All of these topics will be discussed in this chapter. 5.2 TYPES OF GROUND DAMAGES There are two types of ground damage, continuous and dis¬continuous, that could inflict damages to surface structures. Dis¬continuous ground damage is open fractures of various degrees. Four types of fractures are commonly seen (Brauner, 1973b): 1. Fissures or cracks. Cracks are the most common form of ground damage and range from completely closed to several feet wide. Surface cracks are most prominent when the ratio of mining depth to mining height is smaller than 30 to 50 times mining height. Cracks initiate parallel to, but ahead of the moving long¬wall face at some intervals when the depth-to-mining height ratio is less than 25 to 30. As the face continues to move, they open up and then close gradually, and in most cases eventually close up completely when the face moves farther away. Sometimes when the depth-to-mining height ratio is larger, cracks may initiate be¬hind the face and go through the same cycle. Cracks are also more likely to occur in the hill when the face is moving in the uphill direction. Cracks also occur at or near both sides of the panel edges. Those cracks tend to remain open permanently. When the surface is covered with grass or other vegetation, cracks of less than 1 to 2 in. wide usually do not penetrate it and become invisible on the surface. 2. Steps. A step may occur when the longwall face stops abruptly if the mining depth-to-mining height ratio is less than 20. Steps may also occur along the panel edges. Steps also range from a few inches to a few feet in width and depth. If planes of weakness are oriented favorably, ground will slide along these planes and form steps on the surface. 3. Cave-in pits. These result from local collapse of the ground from the mine level to the surface when the mining depth is less than 150 ft and occur mostly above abandoned mined lands. They may be as large as 40 ft wide and deep. 4. Bumps (compression ridges). Bumps result from ground compression and occur mostly near panel center some time after mining. Bumps of up to 4 ft, but mostly 1 to 2 ft, have been identified. Continuous ground damage refers to the formation of the sub¬sidence basin where continuous nondestructive ground deforma¬tions occur. As mentioned earlier, continuous ground deforma¬tions associated with a subsidence basin include subsidence, slope, curvature, displacement, horizontal strain, twisting, and shearing. 5.3 TYPES OF SURFACE STRUCTURAL DAMAGES Both continuous and discontinuous ground disturbance cause damage to surface structures. A. Structural Damages Due to Discontinuous Ground Disturbance 1. Fissures or cracks. Open cracks can cause dislocation of surface structure if the gaps are sufficiently large so that the struc¬tural elements cannot resist but fail. On the other hand, minor cracks affect only the appearance, and not the structural integrity. 2. Steps. When a surface structure is located on a step, some portions of the structure lose support and become overhung. In the case of a residential house, there will likely be many open frac¬tures in the overhung portions, followed in severe cases by sepa¬ration of the superstructure at the edge of the step. 3. Cave-in pits. If the caved-in pit is larger than the surface structure, the structure will drop into the pit and become unstable. If the caved-in pit is smaller than the surface structure, the struc¬ture may either become overhung or lose support in some portions. In either case, it is unsafe for use. 4. Bumps (compression ridges). Bumps will disrupt roadways or house floor. If located under supporting members of the struc¬tures, it may cause damages. B. Structural Damage Due to Continuous Ground Disturbances 1. Subsidence. Pure subsidence or uniform subsidence over an area does not cause any structural damage. However, if it becomes a topographical low area, it may be flooded with water and make the surface structures unusable. It must be noted that the flat bottom area at the center of the final supercritical subsidence basin does not reach that position suddenly. Rather, as shown in Fig. 3.1, it is subjected to the dynamic surface deformation asso¬ciated with the traveling subsidence basin before it is left behind to be part of the flat-bottom area. Therefore any structure located at the center of the final supercritical subsidence basin must be able to resist the dynamic surface deformation in order not to be dam¬aged. 2. Slope. Ground slope will induce tilting of the structure. Tall structures with small base areas, such as water towers, chimneys, and power transmission towers are most sensitive to ground slope. If the ground slope is such that if after tilting the center of the gravity of the tilted structure falls outside the base area, it will topple, but this seldom occurs. Ground slope will change the designed slope of a buried trans¬portation pipeline, either increasing or decreasing the original slope depending on whether the ground slope coincides with or opposes the original slope. There are maximum allowable final slopes for various types of transporting materials. Ground slope also affects highways and railways. There is a maximum allowable final slope for a railway because tractive effort increases 1/1000 of its weight for every increase of 1/1000 in grade. 3. Curvature. There are positive (convex) and negative (con¬cave) curvatures. When a surface structure is located on a positive curvature, both ends become unsupported, followed by bending upward at the midportion. The top portion is subjected to more severe stretching than the lower one. As a result, vertical cracks with a wider gap at the top occur at the window, door frames, on the walls, and at -the wall joints. V-shaped cracks appear at the
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