Title page for ETD etd-11212008-095403

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Murphy, Michael M
Author's Email Address mimurph1@vt.edu
URN etd-11212008-095403
Title Analysis of Seismic Signatures Generated from Controlled Methane and Coal Dust Explosions in an Underground Mine
Degree PhD
Department Mining and Minerals Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Westman, Erik Christian Committee Chair
Barczak, Thomas Committee Member
Chapman, Martin C. Committee Member
Karfakis, Mario G. Committee Member
Karmis, Michael E. Committee Member
Swanson, Peter Committee Member
  • underground mines
  • seismic monitoring
  • radiated seismic energy
  • mine seals
  • instrumentation
  • methane and coal dust explosions
Date of Defense 2008-11-07
Availability unrestricted
Examination of seismic records during the time interval of the Sago Mine disaster in 2006 revealed a small amplitude signal possibly associated with an event in the mine. Although the epicenter of the signature was located in the vicinity where the explosion occurred, it could not be unequivocally attributed to the explosion. More needs to be understood about the seismicity from mine explosions in order to properly interpret critical seismic information. A seismic monitoring system located at NIOSH’s Lake Lynn Experimental Mine has monitored nineteen experimental methane and dust based explosions. The objective of the study was to analyze seismic signatures generated by the methane and dust explosions to begin understanding their characteristics at different distances away from the source. The seismic signatures from these different events were analyzed using standard waveform analysis procedures in order to estimate the moment magnitude and radiated seismic energy. The procedures used to analyze the data were conducted using self-produced programs not available with existing commercial software. The signatures of the explosions were found to be extremely complex due a combination of mine geometry and experimental design, both of which could not be controlled for the purposes of the study. Geophones located approximately 600 m (1970 ft) and over from the source collected limited data because of the attenuation of the seismic waves generated by the methane explosion. A combination of the methods used to characterize the seismic signatures allowed for differentiation between experimental designs and the size of the explosion. The factors having the largest impact on the signatures were the mine geometry, size of the methane explosion, construction of the mine seal and location of the mine seal. A relationship was derived to correlate the radiated seismic energy to the size of the explosion. Recommendations were made, based upon the limitations of this study, on methods for better collection of seismic data in the future.
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