Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 1165–1182 | Cite as

Block caving-induced strata movement and associated surface subsidence: a numerical study based on a demonstration model

  • L. C. Li
  • C. A. Tang
  • X. D. Zhao
  • M. Cai
Original Paper


The block cave mining mechanism and associated subsidence present one of the most challenging engineering problems in rock mining. Although block caving has been in use for many years, there has been limited research on the impact caving angles have on surface settlement and failure profiles, specifically when associated with deep caves and surface propagation (i.e., not as part of caving into an existing open pit). We analyse in this study block caving-induced step-path failure development in a large-scale demonstration model utilizing a numerical code based on a finite element technique that incorporates an elasto-brittle fracture mechanics constitutive criterion. Fracture initiation, propagation and coalescence, as well as the breaking of the intact rock bridge and the evolution of a pressure-balancing arch in the stressed strata, are represented visually during the whole caving process. Based on numerical results, surface impacts of block caving, such as subsidence profiles, break angles, fracture initiation angles and subsidence angles at different initial caving depths, are illustrated in this study.


Block caving Numerical simulation Failure process Surface subsidence Stress evolution Elastic-brittle damage 



The study presented in this paper was jointly supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51279024) and the National Basic Research Programme of China (Grant No. 2014CB047103). The work was also partially supported by CEMI’s caving project, Canada. The authors are grateful for these supports.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil EngineeringDalian University of TechnologyDalianChina
  2. 2.College of Resources and Civil EngineeringNortheastern UniversityShenyangChina
  3. 3.Geomechanics Research Centre, MIRARCOLaurentian UniversitySudburyCanada

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