Rock bursts caused by mining

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by KREM.com & Katie Utehs

KREM.com

Posted on December 15, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 15 at 6:23 PM

MULLAN, Idaho-- Several miners are recovering Thursday from a “rock burst” inside the Lucky Friday Mine.

Mining experts tell KREM2 news that rock bursts are rare, but occur because of mining at great depths.

According to scientist Peter Swanson, who has studied rock bursts for 25 years, “A rock burst is a mining induced seismic event that does damage to the mining structure or injury to the miner.”

When rock and earth are removed during mining it creates a void, which increases the pressure on the rocks still in the mine.  Eventually the pressure becomes too much and the rock explodes with dynamite-like force.

The deeper the mine the more pressure that is placed on the rock.

The burst at the Lucky Friday Mine was so large it registered a magnitude of 2.2 on the Richter scale.

Rock burst accidents are rare because of all the research and safety measures in place. 
 

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