Triggering Tectonic Earthquakes by Mining
A phenomenological model of mining-induced earthquakes M > 3 has been proposed. The main reasons for initiation of a dynamic slip along fault during mining are: a quasi-static change of the stress field as a result of excavation and movement of rock; a change of the effective stiffness of the surrounding rock mass as a result of drifting; a change of the hydro-geological regime of fault zones; an accumulation of minor strains localized on breaks in the zones of active faults. The following geomechanical criteria must be met for a dynamic slip along a fault to occur: (i) tangential stresses at the local fault section must reach a level close to the current strength value (in most cases this is true for active faults); (ii) the fraction of the central part of the fault should have softening properties with increasing sliding velocity; (iii) a certain ratio of rock stiffness to fault stiffness should be met. At the same time, the level of stresses or the properties of material should change over a large fault segment, several times larger than the area of the nucleation zone of a future earthquake.
KeywordsMining-induced earthquakes Mining Trigger effect Fault stiffness Coulomb stress
This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grants #16-05-00694 and #19-05-00378).
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