In underground mining, mine managers know that sinkholes are a future threat to any mine is sinkholes. A natural depression in a land surface communicating with a subterranean passage, generally occurring in limestone regions and formed by solution or by a collapse of a cavern roof.
Sinkholes represent a natural risk that may hit catastrophically without clearly detectible precursors. However, they are often overlooked by people and administrators. Therefore, sinkhole monitoring and associated early warnings constitute important research topics but, currently, only a few papers about sinkhole prediction can be found.
Effective monitoring and early warning systems are needed to be able to forecast sinkhole collapses and thus reduce the risk for people and property.
The main issue is related to the quick identification of deformational anomalies, which are generally very small with respect to the sinkhole-prone area. Moreover, once an anomaly is observed, we should be able to monitor its behaviour with high accuracy as the precursory movements of the main collapse are generally very limited.
After many successful proof of concepts, trials and tests, RocketMine is working with a leading mining company and conducting weekly sessions where they are monitoring the surface instability and can determine where potential sinkholes could appear.
If you suspect that sinkholes may appear, there are certain tells, such as sagging trees or fence posts, doors or windows that won’t close properly, and rainwater collecting in unusual spots.
For comprehensive sinkhole monitoring in the mining industry and beyond, Contact RocketMine for more information.