Mining Publication: Geotechnical Factors Influencing Violent Failure in U.S. Mines
Sudden, violent failures of rock around mine openings influence access, ventilation, and safety in both hard-rock and coal mines. To develop predictive tools for assessing the potential for violent failure, the authors initiated a comprehensive study using (1) multiple linear regression and numerical modeling analyses of geological and mining conditions at 25 sites to identify the most significant factors contributing to stress bumps in coal mines and (2) investigations of the geological and mining factors contributing to rock bursts in the Coeur d' Alene Mining District of northern Idaho, particularly the influence of preexisting structures on rock bursts. Twenty-five factors were initially considered in the study of coal bumps. The most important variables were identified as (1) mechanical properties of strata, (2) gate road geometry and/or gate pillar factors of safety, (3) roof beam thickness, joint spacing, and stiffness characteristics, and (4) stress gradients associated with previous mining and anomalous geologic conditions. In the Coeur d' Alene district, burst damage related to preexisting structures results primarily from (1) sudden buckling and crushing of rock layers where surfaces of development and production openings lie at low angles to bedding, faults, or other planar structures and (2) disturbance of loose ground caused by seismic fault-slip on preexisting faults or previously sheared bedding planes that intersect veins near pillar-stope margins.