Mining Publication: Failure Characteristics of Roof Falls at an Underground Stone Mine in Southwestern Pennsylvania
The location and time of 2,007 microseismic emissions from a limestone mine in southwestern Pennsylvania were compared with the development of mine faces and the characteristics of the mine layout. Based on analyses of these results, the occurrence of roof failure zones appears to be associated with certain characteristics of the mine plan. It was determined that significant relationships exist between the intensity of the microseismic activity and the scale of the roof failures. Microseismic activity associated with these roof falls occurs in distinct episodes, with the final failure event occurring during approximately a 12-hour periods. Each roof fall episode appears to be composed of dozens of distinct roof beam failures. As each beam fails in shear and tension, tens to hundreds of audible noises representing rock fracturing or bedding plane separation can occur. While every roof fall can be viewed as unique, certain mechanistic similarities can be realized through careful observation and monitoring of these complex systems. Understanding these similarities in characteristics allows mine personnel to design the most effective and efficient control technique.