Using a Computer Spreadsheet To Characterize Rock Masses Prior to Subsidence Prediction and Numerical Analysis
Description:Variations in overburden geology must be considered in applying subsidence prediction methodologies developed by the U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM). To characterize rock mass overlying high-extraction coal mines, the USBM utilizes a computer spreadsheet program and modified Rock Mass Rating (RMR) system. The spreadsheet calculates an RMR based on a bed's engineering properties determined from core logs and laboratory tests. An in situ deformation modulus and a bending stiffness are computed for each bed. Stiffness-versus-depth plots identify groups of beds with similar stiffness. Large variations in stiffness between adjacent beds are considered significant horizontal discontinuities where slip is likely. Time domain reflectometry (TDR) is used to verify this hypothesis by measuring shear displacement along such discontinuities. A model of the overburden is built by assuming that a near-surface laminated beam exists above a transition zone in which large plastic slip occurs along horizontal discontinuities. Increasingly thicker groups of beds are modeled to determine the most probable beam thickness based on a comparison with measured deflection profiles. The inverse of maximum beam deflection is an index parameter known as "bridging potential," a single value that incorporates both overburden geology and mine geometry.
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