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Investigating the post-mining subsidence and the long-term stability of old mining excavations: case of Cow Pasture Limestone Mine, West Midlands, UK

Abstract

Assessing the long-term stability of abandoned mine workings is a challenging problem in geo-mechanical engineering. There are several factors contributing to the long-term behaviour of excavations. Creep and the gradual deterioration of rocks are, in particular, among the dominant factors affecting the long-term stability of abandoned mine workings. In this paper, the mechanism of post-mining subsidence over old room-and-pillar mine workings is investigated. A case history of post-mining subsidence over Cow Pasture abandoned limestone mine in the West Midlands of the UK is presented. The geological and geotechnical characteristics of the mining site are explained. Empirical and analytical approaches are then used to study the mechanisms of post-mining subsidence. Outcomes of the analyses show that the bearing capacity failure of the roof strata and the gradual punching of pillars into the moisture-sensitive roof layers have been the key mechanisms initiating failure and leading to the formation of post-mining subsidence in the Cow Pasture Mine.

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The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their invaluable comments and suggestions.

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Salmi, E.F., Malinowska, A. & Hejmanowski, R. Investigating the post-mining subsidence and the long-term stability of old mining excavations: case of Cow Pasture Limestone Mine, West Midlands, UK. Bull Eng Geol Environ 79, 225–242 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10064-019-01575-2

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Keywords

  • Gradual softening
  • Room-and-pillar workings
  • Subsidence
  • Limestone mine
  • Long-term stability