Estimation of the Height of Complete Groundwater Drainage Above Mined Longwall Panels



The height of complete groundwater drainage above subsided longwall panels (referred to as H) at underground mines is determined using a data base of hydraulic head measurements made with multiple devices down the depth profile at each of a number of sites worldwide. H is shown to be relatively independent of most parameters except the geometry of the mined void and the overburden thickness. An empirical equation linking H to these parameters is developed using hydraulic head data, and confirmed using an independent data base of ground movement. H is shown to be the same as the height of the zone of major ground movement above a panel. H for special cases (above longwall chain pillars, above pillar extraction panels, and underneath significant water bodies) is invariably smaller than H above center panel for ordinary cases. A new caving model, from a groundwater perspective, is proposed for continuously sheared longwall panels at ordinary locations. It removes complexity and reduces the uncertainty in estimating H. The derived equation for H applies to a variety of strata types.