Presentation to address mine safety in Ohio


Dr. W. Ashley Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Environmental Science, will be presenting his research on Friday, January 20, 2012 from noon to 1 p. m. in Student Union Room 335.  The title of the research is, “Improving Underground Mine Safety in Ohio using Freely-Available, Statewide LiDAR Data.”

Of the 77 reported fatalities in underground coal mines nationwide from 2007-2011, 26 were a result of roof or rib falls, and according to one report, as many as 90% of roof falls in underground mines in the Appalachian Plateau province occur in mines beneath stream valleys, yet surface topography is not commonly taken into account quantitatively when planning underground excavations.  Roof collapse has been studied for over a century, with resulting standard practices for dealing with roof instabilities based on empirical or back-of the envelope calculations.  For practical reasons, these practices typically ignore the effects of stress perturbations due to topographic relief at the earth’s surface. 

In this talk, Dr. Griffith will describe an ongoing project in which he and his students are studying the heterogeneous stress fields induced at the scale of individual mines by the interaction of topography and tectonic stresses.  Dr. Griffith models this problem using Boundary Element Method software, for which he generates a 3D model surface, made of a grid of triangular elements, created from a freely available LiDAR point cloud of the topography in the vicinity of the mine. This study focuses on an active (200-500 ft deep) coal mine in eastern Ohio which has suffered considerable ground control issues that appear to be spatially correlated with variations in surface topography. Initial results suggest that this will be a promising approach to be incorporated into future underground mine planning in the region.

Bring your lunch and meet Dr. Griffith, learn about his research endeavors and show support for one of your colleagues.  RSVP Mary Dingler, Office of Research Services and Sponsored Programs, or by phone at x7774.