Mining Publication: High Stress Mining Under Shallow Overburden in Underground U.S. Stone Mines
The Chestnut Ridge Anticline is a prominent structure in southwestern Pennsylvania, USA. This structure has brought two economically valuable limestone formations to the surface, where they are easily accessible to room-and-pillar mining. Nine active crushed stone quarries, an underground research facility, and one industrial facility currently operate along the linear trend that represents the axis of the anticline. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has identified significant variation in levels of horizontal stress within relatively short distances at shallow overburdens along the anticline. At one quarry, the horizontal stress is high enough to shear strata with a modulus of approximately 77 Gpa. Conversely, zones of extension were observed in parts of another quarry, indicating very low horizontal stress conditions. This study found that high levels of horizontal stress are to be expected in this very stiff rock formation and that local geologic and topographic structures are capable of altering the magnitude and possibly the orientation of the horizontal stress field.