Mining Publication: An Analysis of Rock Failure Around a Deep Longwall Using Microseismics
In this paper, a state-of-the-art, three-dimensional, full waveform, microseismic system was used to analyze the rock failure around a deep (> 750 m (2500 ft) of cover) bump-prone longwall panel. The microseismic system consisted of both underground and surface geophones coupled through radio telemetry and a fiber-optic network to produce pseudo real-time detection and location of seismic events surrounding the coal seam. This was the first microseismic installation of this scope at a U.S. coal mine, and the system was intended to help determine the exact strata mechanics associated with the redistribution of stress and the associated gob formation at one of the U.S.'s deepest longwall mines. Overall, 5,000 calibrated seismic events were recorded during the mining of one panel, including a Richter magnitude 4.2 event which occurred inside of the array. Analysis of these events provides a number of notable insights into the rock mass behavior. For instance, the longwall panel was widened during the retreat process, and the mining-induced seismicity shows a distinctly different behavior between the start of the panel, the mining of the narrow part of the panel and the mining of the wider part of the panel. Also, in itself, the acquisition of the ML 4.2 event was a major milestone in geomechanical and bump research. This is the first time that such an event has been recorded with this detail and accuracy at a bump-prone coal mine in the U.S. The analysis of this single event has set distinct new limits on the relationship between mining seismicity and coal bumps.