Imaging Near-Surface Mine Workings at the Montague Gold District, Nova Scotia

Mining Rocks! CIM Toronto 2005
Abstract Surface wave imaging is a relatively new seismic technique that generates subsurface depth images without having to drill boreholes into the ground, and is rapidly becoming a standard tool in non-destructive geotechnical characterization. This paper presents a case study of the application of these surface wave techniques to image shallow abandoned mine workings at the Montague Gold Mines district near Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. This district has numerous steeply-dipping narrow vein workings from historical mining activity and has actively subsiding and collapsing crown pillars. Due to the rugged conditions at the site and the relative narrowness of the openings (often less than 1 m), a surface seismic system was developed which had improved portability and lateral resolution over other available seismic imaging systems. Seismic surveys were conducted over two sites where independent evidence indicated the presence of shallow mine workings. At one site, a comparative gravity survey was also conducted. The seismic data was processed to generate velocity versus depth images. Overall, the velocity images show vertical zones of zero velocity in the same lateral positions where historical mapping, current subsidence and gravity surveys indicate the presence of steeply dipping workings. Further, the velocity sections are consistent with the thickness of the till cover at each site and the possible weakening of crown pillars at one of the sites.
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