pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 139, Issue 3–4, pp 421–447 | Cite as

Sequential velocity imaging and microseismic monitoring of mining-induced stress change

  • S. C. Maxwell
  • R. P. Young


Sequential imaging of the temporal changes inP-wave velocity offers a practical tool to monitor a rock mass. Using established correlations between the location of seismic events and velocity structure, the temporal seismic potential characteristics of the rock may be monitored. Furthermore, the temporal velocity differences isolate the time dependent factors effecting velocity such as stress, while cancelling static factors such as lithology. Various sequential imaging techniques were compared with respect to accuracy. Differences between successive velocity images were found to have relatively high associated error estimates. However, images of velocity differences calculated from measured travel time delays between successive velocity surveys were found to have lower error estimates. In particular, travel time delays measured using cross-correlation techniques resulted in the most accurate sequential image. Two 3D sequential imaging studies were carried out at Strathcona Mine in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Results of the average static images indicated an association between the location of induced microseismicity and a zone of both high velocity and high gradient. Additional examples are described from the global seismology literature which also show a similar correlation between seismicity and velocity structure. We attribute this association to an interrelated stress and strength effect. The Strathcona Mine sequential images show zones of significantly decreased velocity in regions of concentrated microseismic activity, which are postulated to be indications of localized destressing and relaxation of the clamping forces resulting in the microseismicity. The zones of decreased velocity corresponded to an increase in the velocity gradient. One of the case studies also shows an increase in velocity in a zone of high static velocity, which is later the site of amN 2.5 mining-induced seismic tremor. The increase in velocity is believed to correspond to a region of stress concentration, resulting in the subsequent seismic tremor.

Key words

Sequential velocity imaging temporal velocity changes mining-induced seismicity velocity-seismicity association 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. C. Maxwell
    • 1
  • R. P. Young
    • 1
  1. 1.Engineering Seismology Laboratory, Department of Geological SciencesQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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