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Water flow into undersea mine workings

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Production at a number of mines operating off the North East coast has been seriously affected by the percolation of significant quantities of water onto working coal faces. A detailed study of factors affecting the incidence and distribution of water inflows has been undertaken, using operational, geological and hydrological data. Analysis indicates that major inflows are a consequence of dynamic strata deformations, which induce discontinuities within the overburden capable of transmitting water from overlying aquiferous formations into workings. Operations tend to encounter excessive water inflows when: (1) cover to the Permian aquifer is less than 100 m or major Coal Measure aquifers exist within about 45 m of workings; (2) tensile face strains induced at the base of the Permian exceed 6 mm m−1; (3) sandstone strata forms less than one third of the overburden, implying a lack of competence in the seam roof; (4) major strata ‘weights’ or ‘breaks’ occur; and (5) faults or other major discontinuities are present in the roof strata.

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Garritty, P. Water flow into undersea mine workings. International Journal of Mining Engineering 1, 237–251 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00881614

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Key words

  • Aquifer
  • geological structure
  • ground water
  • permeability
  • subsidence