Initialization of highly heterogeneous virgin stress fields within the numerical modeling of large-scale mines

Abstract : The objective of the present paper is to propose a methodology to numerically simulate (i.e., initialize) the pre-mining stress field in complex but rather frequent situations in which the classical overburden-weight assumption and existing stress measurements are in disagreement and where the stresses strongly vary from one zone to another, even at constant depth. This methodology is illustrated by the case of a deep mine in France that exploits a 10°-dipping coal seam, in which numerous stress measurements were carried out. Virgin principal stresses in this mine have been shown to be highly heterogeneous and anisotropic. To correctly reproduce such a challenging initial stress state in a numerical model and to be able to later calculate mining-induced stresses, five distinct methods (M#1 to M#5) are successively presented and compared, along with their advantages and drawbacks. All of them are based on “fixed” boundary conditions, with null normal displacements on all lateral boundaries except on the top one, which is considered as a free surface of the Earth coinciding with the natural flat topography. The initial conditions of the model assume that the pre-mining stress components linearly depend on the Cartesian coordinates x, y and z (depth), and the Simplex Method is used to calculate the linear coefficients by minimizing the squared difference between the measured stresses and their simulated values. We show that the use of 3D stress gradients produces more realistic results than a 1D vertical stress gradient.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 6, 2018 - 2:54:39 PM
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Samar S. Ahmed, Yann Gunzburger, Vincent Renaud, Marwan Al Heib. Initialization of highly heterogeneous virgin stress fields within the numerical modeling of large-scale mines. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, Pergamon, 2017, 99, pp.50-62. ⟨10.1016/j.ijrmms.2016.04.006⟩. ⟨ineris-01854126⟩

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