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A back analysis of the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2010, Vol. 328, No. 1, pp. 525-532

Heasley, K.A.


The objective of this paper is to back analyze the August 6th, 2007, collapse at the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah, in order to better understand the geometric and geomechanical factors that contributed to that collapse. In this work, the LaModel boundary-element program, along with the best available information, is used for the back analysis. To initiate the analysis, a six-step base model of the mining in the Main West area was developed. This base model included a step for each of the critical stages in the mining of this area. Next, calibrated values for the critical input parameters, rock mass stiffness, gob stiffness and coal strength, were developed and optimized based on the best available information. Finally, the model was used to simulate the final mining scenario. As a result of this back analysis, a number of conclusions can be made concerning the mine design and the August 6th collapse: 1) overall, the area was primed for a massive pillar collapse because of the large area of equal-size pillars, 2) the abutment stress from the active retreat sections and the adjacent longwall panels were significant contributors to the collapse and 3) from the modeling alone, it is not clear exactly what triggered the August collapse, although the active mining is a reasonable assumption.