oa CSIR Science Scope - Modelling the effect of excavations on seismic inversions : do stopes act as sources? : mathematical modelling
The deepest mines in the world are found in South Africa, with stoping occurring at depths of almost 4 km. The enormous weight of the overlying rock strata results in high rock stresses at depth, which may cause pre-existing geological features to be reactivated or previously intact rock to rip and tear. The sudden rupture generates seismic waves, which race through the earth at speeds of about 6 000 m/s for P-waves and 3 800 m/s for S-waves. When the waves encounter the excavation surfaces, interference, diffraction and refraction effects may cause violent shaking. Rock fragments are often ejected and stopes and tunnels may collapse, with devastating consequences to men and machines.
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