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Aseismic Mining Subsidence in an Abandoned Mine : Influence Factors and Consequences for Post-Mining Risk Management

Abstract : In the Lorraine area of eastern France, decades of iron-ore mining from 1850 to 1997 have left vast underground cavities beneath or in the vicinity of urban areas. Several major collapses occurred in the southern part of this iron-ore basin in the 1990s, after the mine closure and the flooding of underground mine workings. Following these large-scale collapses, the French government initiated a strategy of post-mining risk management to prevent and control risks associated with these ground failures. The high-risk zones are secured either by reducing the vulnerability while the moderate risk zones are monitored for public safety purposes by using in situ monitoring. This monitoring relies mainly on real-time microseismic systems, to detect precursors to a rapid large-scale collapse. After the progressive closing and then flooding of the northern iron basin ending in 2008, subsidence was observed in a town of the Lorraine basin in autumn of 2009. However, this local subsidence, with a low velocity of few centimeters per month, was not clearly detected by the borehole microseismic monitoring station located nearby. Only some microseismic events were recorded, which could not be unambiguously related to the beginning of the subsidence event. To better understand this lack of microseismic precursor a geophysical investigation was launched. A calibration blast experiment was carried out from a remaining old underground access in order to answer to the following questions: (1) what is the seismic wave attenuation field?; (2) what is the minimum source power that can be detected by the sensors?; (3) what is the impact of the geology, the faults corridor and the integral pillar extraction zone on the wave propagation field? The results of this study show strong anelastic attenuation of the seismic waves though the monitored overburden most likely related to the extensive fault system intersecting the study site. Strong attenuation might explain the lack of detected microseismicity during the subsidence event. In order to clarify this issue, a mobile GPS monitoring system was designed and tested to address this type of situation in future.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 11, 2021 - 3:35:13 PM
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Isabelle Contrucci, Cyrille Balland, Jannes Kinscher, Mustapha Bennani, Pascal Bigarre, et al.. Aseismic Mining Subsidence in an Abandoned Mine : Influence Factors and Consequences for Post-Mining Risk Management. Pure and Applied Geophysics, Springer Verlag, 2019, 176 (2), pp.801-825. ⟨10.1007/s00024-018-2015-6⟩. ⟨ineris-03319038⟩

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