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Effects of Structural Faults on Ground Control in Selected Coal Mines in Southwestern Virginia
  • Published Date:
    1/1/1989
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Effects of Structural Faults on Ground Control in Selected Coal Mines in Southwestern Virginia
Details:
  • Description:
    Large structural faults create serious ground control hazards, as well as adversely affect coal mineproduction. Two faults related to the Pine Mountain overthrust sheet in Buchanan County, VA, were investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Mines to determine their effect on ground control and to develop recognition criteria for prediction. Five underground mines encountering these faults were visited and mapped for structural information. This information, along with surface mapping, indicated that Pistol Gap and Keen Mountain Faults show right-lateral, strike-slip faulting and bedding planes slippage, which can be projected linearly and vertically. These fault zones are up to 200 ft wide, with coalbed offsets up to 18 ft vertically, coalbed swags (depressions) up to 15 ft, and roof falls up to 20 ft high. Recognition criteria include bedding plane slips, coalbed offsets, fault gouge, coalbed swag (depressions or synclines), and disturbed bedding. These recognition criteria will help an informed operator realize that many sudden coalbed discontinuities are related to larger geologic events (in this case thrust faulting) and can be projected linearly and vertically. Ground control strategies include mine designs that minimize fault exposure. Mining plans can be adjusted based on type and extent of fault movement.

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