validation. More research is needed to address the deficiency in quantitative data. Modelling presented in thispaper represents an initial attempt to address these issues.
Table 1 Influence of geological structure on block caving surface subsidence developmentGeologicalstructureInfluence on block caving subsidence Reference
JointsIn the absence of faults and dykes, joint dip governs the angle of break. Angleof break for a mine should be equal to the dip of the most prominent joint.Crane (1929),Wilson (1958)FaultsWhen a mining face encounters a significant discontinuity, such as a fault,with moderate to steep dip, movement will occur on the fault regardless of the cave angle through intact rock. A stepped crack will result where thefault daylights at surface. If mining is only on the hanging wall side of thefault there will only be surface movements on the one side. If the fault dipis steeper than the cave angle the extent of surface subsidence will bereduced, conversely, if the fault dip is less than the cave angle the extent of surface subsidence will be increased.Abel & Lee(1980),Stacey &Swart (2001),van As (2003)
3 New approach to numerical analysis of caving induced surface subsidence
Conventional numerical modelling techniques applied to the analysis of rock engineering problems treat therock mass either as a continuum or as a discontinuum. The use of finite element, finite difference methods isbased on the assumption that the rock mass behaves as a continuum medium. In contrast, distinct elementmethods (DEM) methods are based on the assumption of the rock mass as a discontinuum, consisting of anassembly or finite number of interacting singularities. Both continuum and discontinuum techniques providea convenient framework for the analysis of many complex engineering problems.One important limitation of continuum techniques is their inability to simulate the kinematic aspects of rock mass failure. The solutions based on discontinuum modelling are strongly dependant on the contactproperties of the discrete elements, which govern their interaction. Scalable and robust methods for obtainingthese properties are yet to be developed. Moreover, as indicated by Stead et al (2004), neither technique cancapture the interaction of existing discontinuities and the creation of new fractures through fracturing of theintact rock material. A key failure mechanism, rock brittle fracturing, can only be simulated indirectly.Block caving subsidence is a product of a complex rock mass response to caving. This response comprisesmassive failure of rock mass in tension and compression, along both existing discontinuities and throughintact rock bridges, and involving complex kinematic mechanisms. Clearly, the analysis of this phenomenonassuming a pure continuum or discontinuum model may not be adequate. It is evident that the numericaltreatment of such a complex problem necessitates consideration of a blend of continuous and discretecomputational processes to provide an adequate solution.In the current study a state-of-the-art hybrid continuum-discontinuum technique based on finite/discreteelement method (Munjiza et al, 1995) and fracture mechanics principles is adopted. An implementation of this approach using the numerical code ELFEN (Rockfield Software Ltd., 2007) is employed. The ELFENcode is a multipurpose FE/DE software package that utilizes a variety of constitutive criteria and is capableof undertaking both implicit and explicit analyses in 2-D and 3-D space. Capability exists to simulatecontinuum materials, jointed media and particle flow behaviour.In the combined finite-discrete element method the finite element-based analysis of continua is merged withdiscrete element-based transient dynamics, contact detection and contact interaction solutions (Munjiza,2004). Use of fracture mechanics principles in a context of finite-discrete element method allows the cavingprocess to be simulated in a physically realistic manner. Rock mass failure is simulated through a brittlefracture driven continuum to discontinuum transition with the development of new fractures and discreteblocks, and a full consideration of the failure kinematics. Table 2 compares continuum, discontinuum andhybrid continuum-discontinuum modelling techniques.