Stepped Frequency GPR Field Trials for Determining the Ideal Frequency Bandwidth for Use in Potash Mines

CIM Edmonton 2004
Sean M. Maloney, Peter K. Kaiser, Gunnar Triltzsch, Hans Martin Braun, Arnfinn Prugger,
Abstract Separations, which form along stratigraphic boundaries in the roofs of potash mines, pose a serious safety concern. If these separations go undetected they can lead to falls of ground. The current method of identifying the location and extent of these separations is through manual scaling (sounding) using an aluminium rod. The potash mining companies would like to have a tool, which could quickly and reliably detect these separations and distinguish between them and clay seams.

This paper presents the results of field trials undertaken at various potash mines in Saskatchewan belonging to the member companies of the Saskatchewan Potash Producers Association. A ground penetrating radar instrument from RST called SUSI (stepped frequency, ultra-wideband, synthetic aperture radar instrument) was used. SUSI has the ability of working over various frequency bandwidths. Four mines were chosen for these field trials, covering the different geological characteristics encountered in the Saskatchewan potash mines: Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan’s (PCS) Allan and Lanigan Divisions, Agrium’s Vanscoy Potash Operations and IMC’s K2 Mine.

These field trials indicated that stepped frequency ground penetrating radar technology could be “tuned“ to identify both separations and clay stratigraphy in the softrock, potash mine environment, based on the different spectral responses of the features.
Keywords: Potash mining, separation detection, clay seam detection, GPR, stepped frequency
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