Subsidence kinetics above room and pillar mines & development of kinetic criterion based on retro-analysis of subsidence cases

Abstract : The iron ore mines in the Lorraine region of north-eastern France cover a surface area of approximately 3,900 km2 and involve more than 150 cities. A total extraction method was usually used during exploitation, but this technique was sometimes replaced by the room and abandoned pillar technique when it was necessary to protect surface buildings and infrastructure. Rooms and abandoned pillars were initially designed to ensure long-term mine stability. However, this aim was not always reached and numerous collapses occurred in the Lorraine iron basin, either during production or several years after closure. Several subsidence events were identified during a period of one century; the most recent event occurred in 2012. Two groups of events were identified. The first group represents events characterized by sudden surface movement, and the second group includes event characterized by progressive subsidence. Numerous studies conducted during the last decade helped improve our understanding the origin mechanism of spontaneous or progressive (slow) events. These studies led to identifying long-term potentially unstable underground zones (hazard zones), particularly deep zones located under buildings and infrastructure. The latest are currently monitored by microseismic networks. A similar high requirement level is needed for unstable zones without taking into account the kinetics of the subsidence, which is very important for safety. Thus, GEODERIS initiated this study, primarily to acquire a better understanding of the kinetics of the progressive events group and identify the main parameters that could explain why some pillars zones developed a maximum amplitude subsidence on surface within a few hours or days, while it took several weeks to months for others. In practice, the results of this study will facilitate adapting the requirement level of microseismic monitoring system to the kinetics of pillar collapse. To retrieve the real kinetics for each event, historical and sparse documentation was used. Firstly, archives research was conducted, especially testimonies and newspaper articles published during the events. This work helped to gather useful information that sometimes contained a precise description of subsidence duration. The archives research helped to classify some progressive events according to the subsidence kinetics. Secondly, a diagnostic of geotechnical and geomechanical parameters of historic events was realized, combined with a cross analysis of the data. The analysis took into account dimensions of underground workings (e.g., pillar lengths, widths, heights, introduction of a “pillar shape factor”, and stress amount). An original expression was highlighted to connect the pillar geometry to the stress state. The kinetics expression was calibrated to classify the historic events taken into account according to the kinetics of movements. The kinetic criterion was applied to predict subsidence kinetics for the potential unstable zones currently monitored by a microseismic system.
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A. Hosni, Rafik Hadadou, Jean-Pierre Josien, Jack-Pierre Piguet, Hafid Baroudi. Subsidence kinetics above room and pillar mines & development of kinetic criterion based on retro-analysis of subsidence cases. 13th International congress of rock mechanics (ISRM 2015), May 2015, Montréal, Canada. ⟨ineris-01855058⟩

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