Land development. State-of-the-art in the location of old mine shafts

  • F. G. Bell
General Papers


Because mining has gone on in the United Kingdom for centuries there is a legacy of the shafts left behind, most of which are unrecorded. Where land is to be developed and the presence of an old shaft is suspected, the location of the shaft must be determined so that shaft can be dealt with. The primary reason for this is that an abandoned shaft may pose a potential danger. Frequently when shafts were abandoned they were inadequately filled or simply sealed over at the surface. Hence the possibility of shaft collapse exists or the land around a shaft may subside. If superficial deposits surround the shaft, collapse leads to the formation of a crater at the surface, the diameter of which is much larger than that of the shaft.

The location of an old shaft involves a number of stages, of which the desk study is important. This may involve the use of aerial photographs in areas which have not been built over. The use of some geophysical and geochemical techniques have on occasions proved of value in such an operation. Nonetheless the exact location of a shaft can only be proved by its exposure by direct methods of exploration, that is, by excavation or drilling.


Drilling Excavation Aerial Photograph Geophysical Method Safety Precaution 

Aménagement du territoire. Localisation des anciens puits de mines


Les exploitations minières ont été nombreuses en Grande Bretagne à travers les siècles et la plupart des puits abandonnés ne sont pas repérés. Lorsqu'un aménagement est projeté et que la présence d'un ancien puits est suspecté, il est nécessaire de le repérer afin d'en tenir compte, en raison des dangers qu'il peut présenter. Ces puits abandonnés ont en effet souvent été insuffisamment remblayés, parfois même simplement obturés en surface, avec des possibilités d'effondrement ou d'affaissement pour les terrains voisins. Si des dépôts superficiels entourent le puits, l'effondrement peut provoquer un cratère en surface, dont le diamètre est de beaucoup supérieur à celui du puits.

Le repérage d'un ancien puits se fait en plusieurs étapes, parmi lesquelles l'étude prélable s'avère très importante. Elle peut comprendre l'utilisation des photographies aériennes dans les zones non construites; les techniques geophysiques et geochimiques se sont également révélées utiles. Finalement la localisation précise d'un puits ne peut être certaine qu'en utilisant des méthodes directes d'exploration, c'est-à-dire la fouille ou le sondage.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Engineering Geology 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. G. Bell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringTeesside PolytechnicClevelandUK

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