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Trifu C.-I.,Engineering Seismology Group Inc. | Shumila V.,Engineering Seismology Group Inc.
Pure and Applied Geophysics | Year: 2010

Several decades of faulty exploitation of salt through solution mining led to the creation of an underground cavern containing several million cubic meters of brine. To eliminate the huge hazard near a densely inhabited area, a technical solution was implemented to resolve this instability concern through the controlled collapse of the roof while pumping the brine out and filling the cavern with sterile. To supervise this, an area of over 1 km2 was monitored with a staggered array of 36 one-component, 15 Hz geophones installed in 12 boreholes about 160-360 m deep. A total of 2,392 seismic events with Mw -2.6 to 0.2 occurred from July 2005 to March 2006, located within an average accuracy of 18 m. The b-value of the frequency-magnitude distribution exhibited a time variation from 0.5 to 1 and from there to 1.5, suggesting that the collapse initiated as a linear fracture pattern, followed by shear planar fragmentations and finally a 3-D failure process. The brunching ratio of seismicity is indicative of a super-critical process, except for a short period in mid-February when temporary stability existed. Event relocation through the use of a collapsing technique outlines that major clusters of seismicity were associated with the main cavern collapse, whereas smaller clusters were generated by the fracturing of smaller size nearby caverns. It is shown that one-component recordings allow for stable and reliable point source event mechanism solutions through automatic moment tensor inversion using time domain estimates of low frequency amplitudes with first polarities attached. Detailed analysis of failure mechanism components uses 912 solutions with conditional number CN < 100 and a correlation coefficient r2 > 0.5. The largest pure shear (DC) components characterize the events surrounding the cavern ceiling, which exhibit normal and strike-slip failures. The majority of mechanism solutions include up to 30% explosional failure components, which correspond to roof caving under gravitational collapsing. The largest vertical deformation rate relates closely to the cavern roof and floor, as well as the rest of the salt formation, whereas the horizontal deformation rate is most prominent in areas of detected collapses. © 2009 Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland. Source

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