Abstract

Recent results have shown that crosscorrelating ambient seismic noise recorded in underground mines can successfully extract the seismic Green’s function between sensors. We have revisited an earlier experiment that showed that these virtual seismic sources can be used to measure changes in seismic velocity accurately enough to monitor the short- and long-term influences of a blast in an underground mine. To use this method routinely, it is important to determine the cause of velocity variations in the absence of large dynamic stress perturbations (such as blasts). It also is important to calibrate the seismic velocity changes in terms of known stress changes so the effect of mining activities can be quantified in units that can be used by geotechnical engineers. To this end, we used coda-wave interferometry to measure relative velocity variations during times where no significant blasting or microseismic activity occurred and compared it to atmospheric air pressure changes, temperature variations, and modeled tidal strain. The results indicate that atmospheric air pressure changes have a measurable influence on the long-term seismic velocity variations at depth in the absence of large dynamic stress perturbations. This influence enabled us to determine the sensitivity of the relative velocity changes to stress, where a value of 3.2×106  %/Pa was found. This calibration essentially enables us to turn each sensor pair in an underground mine into a stress meter, paving the way for geotechnical engineers to use ambient seismic noise correlations to monitor the evolution of stress and to assess seismic hazard in conjunction with conventional microseismic methods.

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