Blog icon

The challenge

Slope instability and weak seismic events

One of the key requirements in open-cut mining is assessment of slope stability.

Microseismic techniques have been used for monitoring and interpreting rock-fracturing events that may lead to pit-wall collapse.

A challenge for microseismics is that many seismic events associated with unstable activities are weak and not picked up by conventional microseismic monitoring methods.

In a partially confined strata environment – such as near open-pit slopes and underground tunnels – the stress needed to break the partially confined rock mass may not be high, leading to many weak microseismic events.

Many of these weak events may challenge the integrity of the rock mass, but their energy weakness means they hardly trigger more than three geophone (a device that measures ground movement) stations, so are often not recorded in conventional microseismic monitoring.

Yet, as these weak events contain information of strata instability, we believe it’s important for them to be recorded and interpreted to further improve the safety of mining operations.

Our response

Measuring micorseimsmic events

Our Microseismic Research Team has developed a novel approach to monitor weak microseismicity using  smart algorithms to automatically detect and interpret these weak seismic signals.

The weak seismic event detection and interpretation are achieved using continuous data recording and intelligent seismic event discrimination algorithms.

Event location can be obtained using one or more geophone stations.

The seismic signals may be weak but can add a further dimension enhancing mine safety and improving risk.

The results

Making (microseismic) waves in pit wall safety

Our technique has been successfully tested in two open-cut mines with more trials at underground mines for roadway stability in progress.

These initial trials have provided reliable monitoring results alowing pit operators to improve mining risk management.

Future work is aiming to develop a reliable system to record and interpret these weak seismic events in real-time, improving efficiency and safety for open-cut and underground mines.

Two final project reports have been accepted by our academic partners and industry clients. One journal paper and one conference paper have been published.

Do business with us to help your organisation thrive

We partner with small and large companies, government and industry in Australia and around the world.

Contact us now to start doing business

Contact us

Find out how we can help you and your business. Get in touch using the form below and our experts will get in contact soon!

CSIRO will handle your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and our Privacy Policy.

First name must be filled in

Surname must be filled in

I am representing *

Please choose an option

Please provide a subject for the enquriy

0 / 100

We'll need to know what you want to contact us about so we can give you an answer

0 / 1900

You shouldn't be able to see this field. Please try again and leave the field blank.