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Case study of blast vibration-induced sounds recorded inside a house near a West Virginia coal mine

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2010, Vol. 328, No. 1, pp. 441-449

Lusk, B.T.; Silva Castro, J.; Hoffman, J.M.


Blast vibration induces sounds within neighboring residences. A housewide vibration and sound monitoring system was installed in a West Virginia home subjected to blasts from various distances and directions. Eighty-nine blast events were monitored and analyzed. Fifteen channels of data were collected, including data from three triaxial geophones, one airblast microphone, one uniaxial geophone mounted on the wall of the house (response channel) and four microphones that recorded CD-quality sound waves inside the house. Each of these channels was recorded on the same time scale. The response channel signal was easily separated into ground vibration and airblast-induced movement, due to differences in the time of arrival. This response channel was then compared to the sounds recorded to determine which component of blast vibration induced the maximum sound response. Blasts at distances less than 762 meters (2,500 feet) had maximum sound responses from both ground vibration and airblast, while for blasts beyond 762 meters (2,500 feet), the maximum sound response was caused by ground vibration without exception. When airblast was identified as the dominant sound generator, the peak amplitude of the sound was directly related to the amplitude of airblast. When ground vibration was identified as the dominant sound generator, the peak amplitude of sound was not related to the amplitude of ground vibration. Findings from frequency analysis showed that the frequency content of sounds inside the house was not related to the frequency content of airblast or ground vibration, regardless of source. This finding suggests that residents will have difficulty determining the source of blast-induced noise in their homes. The proposed airblast response factor (ABRF) can aid blasting operations to determine the dominant source of sounds inside a complainant’s house based on the time-of-arrival relationships. With this site-specific information, public relations responses can be developed accordingly.