During the last two decades, the detection of coal seam discontinuities by seismic waves guided by the seam has become a special branch of exploration seismics in Europe. Waves consisting purely of SH motion (so-called waves of Love type) are of special interest, and the rather high frequencies of the Airy phase, in thin seams, are most important because they present very high reflectivity at seam interruptions.Absorption increases with frequency in most layers, and therefore attenuates the high Airy-phase frequencies more severely than the earlier low-frequency part of the guided waves. Another fact additionally impairs the Airy-phase signal: the quality factor Q is much lower in coal than in the schists and sandstones of the Carboniferous country rock. Unfortunately, most of the energy of the Airy phase is transferred by the coal, whereas the lower frequencies have their main energy conveyed by the country rock above and below the seam.In order to allow a better understanding of the influence of absorption on Love-type seam waves, several simplified computations were carried out for the fundamental mode of a seam typical for the northwest-German Ruhr area. The assumptions are as follows: The quality factors Q 1 for coal and Q 2 for the country rock do not depend upon frequency; higher powers of Q (super -1) 1 and Q (super -1) 2 can be neglected; and the distance from the source is large enough to allow the two-dimensional plane-wave case to be considered. The mathematics resulting from these assumptions and adequate data processing of transmission records provides the possibility to determine the quality factor Q 1 of coal in-situ, although the thickness of the seam may be much smaller than the wavelengths involved. Q 1 may become of interest for practical mining problems.

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