Ground cracks development and characteristics of strata movement under fast excavation: a case study at Bulianta coal mine, China

  • Yuankun Xu
  • Kan WuEmail author
  • Liang Li
  • Dawei Zhou
  • Zhenqi Hu
Original Article


Field examples of fast exploitation from underground coal seams in Bulianta mines, China, show that unexpected developmental rules of settlement and cracks can occur. In situ observation and a physical model consisting of sand, plaster, mica, and calcium carbonate were jointly employed to study the movement of strata, as well as the developmental characteristics of surface cracks. The physical model was observed with a high-precision industrial photogrammetric system. The results indicate that ground cracks are caused by strata deformation, but the formation of ground cracks can, in turn, promote the deformation of strata. Moreover, by contrast with coal mining at a speed of about 2 m/day, we found that the ground does not achieve full subsidence until the advancing distance exceeds 2.2 times the mining depth under rapid excavation (approximately 12 m/day), which would cause large errors for surface settlement prediction. OCF (opening and closing fractures) above gobs are self-closing, but the duration of the closing phase is 3.6 times that of the opening phase, different from the symmetric distribution caused by mining with slower speed. The whole developmental cycle is inversely proportional to mining speed, and fast excavation can shorten development time of OCF. However, the horizontal tension deformation is the most stable factor for predicting ground cracks regardless of excavation speed. The research results can provide theoretical basis for dynamic prediction of ground subsidence and cracks development caused by underground coal mining.


Surface crack Physical model Longwall mining Subsidence Coal exploitation 



This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China and Shenhua Group Co., Ltd. (Grant number U1361203). The authors would like to thank the editor and reviewers for their contributions on the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuankun Xu
    • 1
  • Kan Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liang Li
    • 1
  • Dawei Zhou
    • 1
  • Zhenqi Hu
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and Spatial InformaticsChina University of Mining and TechnologyXuzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Land Reclamation and Ecological RestorationChina University of Mining and Technology (Beijing)BeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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