Abstract

Seismic exploration technologies developed in coal mines and oil fields are basically the same but with certain differences. Safety is one of the key issues in coal mining in China due to unexpected fatal accidents of underground work. Most of these accidents were derived from a geologic anomaly, such as minor faults, subsidence columns, gobs (old coal mining areas), and caving zones (collapse areas), which are of fundamental importance to prevent mining losses from coal mining risk caused by flooding accidents, broken coal beds, added fissures, and accumulated gas. In addition, minor faults also have significant influences on tunnel design in mechanical mining. Above all, accurate identification of these factors is critical in coal mining. We have focused on a coal mine located in eastern China with a burial depth from 500 to 1000 m and a smaller area of less than 10 km2. Using high-precision 3D seismic data and seismic attribute analysis techniques, such as variance, curvature, ant tracking, etc., satisfactory results have been achieved in identifying minor faults, subsidence columns, coal tunnels, and gobs. Verified with actual coal mining, up to 85% of the predicted minor faults with a fault throw within 2–3-m match actual minor faults, and the predicted subsidence columns, coal tunnel, and gob were in perfect agreement with the real-world situation.

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