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Interstate Technical Group on Abandoned Underground Mines
An Interactive Forum

Recent National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Research Using Ground Penetrating Radar for Detection of Mine Voids

Presenter: William D. Monaghan
University/Organization: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Phone: 412-386-6656
Fax: 412-386-6595
Email: wdm2@cdc.gov
Mailing Address: Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
P.O. Box 18070
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15236

Abstract

We have tested the ability of ground penetrating radar (GPR) to resolve adjacent mine workings. The work was conducted at two National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health locations - an underground coal mine and an underground limestone mine. The objective of our work was to determine if GPR signals could be received from distant mine workings. The GPR system was calibrated on underground mine pillars of known dimensions using a variety of antennas. The system was then tested at several underground locations in an effort to detect an adjacent drift entry; and an adjacent abandoned coal mine. As a means of verification, an in-seam horizontal hole was drilled from the active coal mine to the abandoned mine to confirm the presence and location of the abandoned mine workings. Our results show that in the case of the limestone mine the maximum depth of penetration where the mine workings could be resolved was 85 ft; and in the case of the coal mine the abandoned mine workings could be resolved at a depth of 205 ft. We conclude that it may be possible to utilize GPR for initial underground mine studies followed by directional drilling to accurately delineate the extent and position of adjacent abandoned mine workings.

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Updated: 06/29/2015
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