Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, RI 8453, 1980 Jan; :1-49
On November 15, 1972, the bautsch mine, a lead-zinc mine in Paleozoic dolomites, experienced a massive rock failure involving 3 to 5 million tons. Because this failure was large and extended to the surface, it was included in the federal Bureau of Mines investigations on "massive rock failures." Analysis of the rock mechanics and mode of failure revealed that failure at the bautsch mine was the result of the interrelationship of many factors. Factors related to the failure were found to be external and internal to the mining environment. Unlike internal factors, external factors were not apparent and, therefore, many external factors were investigated; some of which are not normally considered in rock mechanics analyses. External and internal factors determined to be of significant importance were (1) precipitation, (2) fractures, (3) plastic clay layer, (4) topography, (5) rock alteration, (6) bedding, and (7) mining zone dimensions. Because of the conditions at the mine, failure could have been predicted without extensive instrumentation. Application of basic geologic and engineering principles to the internal and external factors could have predicted failure. Alternately, failure would, in all probability, have been delayed by years if, after 1962, mining had been curtailed in the area of failure.
Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, RI 8453