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Fragblast 2001, Vol. 5, No. 1-2, pp.


1385-514x/01 /0501 -108$ 16.00 ® Swets & Zeitlinger

The Influence of Burden on Blast Vibration

There is a common belief within the blasting community that increasing the burden will increase the blast vibration. In order to test this belief in a direct sense, it would be desirable to fire single blastholes with various burdens and monitor the vibrations at many locations. A review of past literature indicates that such direct tests are rare and only scant data is available. Nevertheless, a detailed analysis of this and associated past work (on small-scale blocks and choke blasts) shows no convincing evidence of an influence of burden on blast vibration. On the other hand, by considering the role of reflected waves in a simple analytical model, reasoning is given to show that the vibration might well be insensitive to burden. In view of the scant data available, it was decided to conduct trials of a direct nature, in which 13 single blastholes were fired to a free face. The burdens chosen were 2.6 m, 5.2 m and 10.4 m, and the vibration was measured at typically 10 locations over the range 5 m to 50 m from each hole. The results clearly show that the vibration is independent of such burdens. Furthermore, a side-by-side comparison of a choke blast with a free-face blast showed that the vibration from the holes in the choke blast was not higher than the vibration from the holes in the free-face blast. The present work also shows that vibration, although insensitive to burden, is not insensitive to the condition (i.e., the degree of damage) of the surrounding rock mass. In this regard, blastholes in undamaged ground produce a significantly higher vibration than blastholes in damaged ground. This might well be the reason why pre splits and drop-cuts are observed to produce relatively high vibrations, i.e., it is not because such blasts typically involve large burdens, but rather that they are usually initiated in relatively undamaged ground. Keywords: Blast vibration, burden, damage, PPV.



In many mining operations, it is desirable to blast leaving broken material (from the previous blast) lying in front of the rock face. Such choke blasting
^ r i c a Australia Pty. Ltd., George Booth Drive, Kurd Kurri, NSW Australia. Corresponding author: Tel.: 61 2 4939 5200; Fax: 61 2 4939 5299; E-mail:




has three main advantages. Firstly, this extra burden restricts horizontal face movement and so minimally disturbs ore-waste boundaries in grade control blasting. Secondly, it improves mine scheduling (and hence productivity) since broken material does not have to be removed prior to each blast. Thirdly, the broken material against the face helps to reduce face bursts which, in turn, helps to reduce excessive airblast. However, because any choke blast is fired with a burden significantly larger than that of an equivalent free-face blast, there is a common belief that choke blasting will produce excessive vibration (see, for example [1-3]. It is thus worthwhile reviewing available data regarding the influence of burden (either broken or solid material) on blast vibration. In this investigation the burden is assumed to be solid unless stated otherwise (as in choke blasts). Liu and Ludwig [4] measured the blast vibration for a series of charge weights, distances and burdens. Their tabulated raw data is plotted in Figure 1 as a function of the traditional scaled distance d/y/W, where d is the distance (in m) from the monitor to the blasthole, and W the explosive charge weight (in kg). The burden (in m) is shown beside each VPPV value.
900 800 700 600


'• •

3.0 2.4

500 400
300 2.4 •


2.4 0.5

200 100


0 0

2 3 SCALED DISTANCE (m/kg/2)

Fig. 1. The raw experiment data of Liu and Ludwig [4] plotted as a function of scaled distance. The burden (in m) is shown for each data point.

In this regard. 2. Figure 2 shows the VPPV measured by Blair and Birney [5] for the monitoring of single blastholes.4 — - o 1 1 i 1 1 0.W. fired 900 m below the surface vibration detectors.2 50 55 60 65 SCALED DISTANCE (m/kg/2) 70 75 Fig. the raw data show no con-vincing evidence of an influence of burden.P. The solid curve is the traditional least 1. Thus their resulting claim that vibration depends upon burden must be viewed with great caution. Figure 3 shows the data measured by Bergmann et al. The VPPV data of Blair and Birney [5] versus scaled distance. [6] for blasting in small blocks of granite. BLAIR AND L. Nevertheless. and so the results are given in terms of the gauge pressure (in MPa). It is quite obvious that this data for underground blasting also shows no convincing evidence of a dependence of vibration on burden. .110 D. Liu and Ludwig [4] assumed a dependence of burden on vibration within their 4-parameter model that was used to fit a scant data set of 9 observed values. because of the common belief.8 > OH > 0. ARMSTRONG There is obviously a significant amount of scatter in the data and this alone suggests that caution must be exercised in attempting to extract a correlation between any variables.6 - : o 0. Pressure gauges (rather than geophones or accelerometers) were used to measure the induced vibration. with burdens of either 6 m or 3 m.2 r o o 6 m BURDEN 3 m BURDEN 1 - o 0.

The large amount of scatter in the data is quite evident. and it is statistically unwise to compare data sets over vastly different regimes. too. the most common sense interpretation of Figure 3 is that all the data may be fit by the usual power curve (the solid line). The burden (in m) is shown for each data point. in this case). . [7] The data is shown in Figure 4 for similar ranges of scaled distance. Again.THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION 111 120r 10080 00 0.46 0 0 0. and raises the question regarding the significance to be placed on the fact that the regression line for the confined blasts lies above that for the unconfined blasts as shown in Heilig et al.38 20 0. Their original data for the confined blasts covered a scaled distance that was approximately twice that of the unconfined blasts. [6].5 1 1. squares power curve fit to the data. in this case there is no convincing evidence of an effect of burden on blast vibration (gauge pressure.11 m 60 o 40 0. assumed a burden dependence and incorporated this effect into a rather questionable 9-parameter model. [7] monitored a series of blasts in a quarry in which the face was either free or confined by a muckpile. As it stands. it was this model that also predicted the much-touted claim that an optimum velocity of detonation (VoD) for an explosive is 1. these authors.3 times the rock sonic velocity. Figure 4 shows their data plotted over the same range in scaled distances.5 SCALED DISTANCE (m/kg ) Fig. Incidentally. and so this added claim must also be viewed with great caution. irrespective of burden.5 2 1/2 2. The raw experiment data of Bergmann et al. Heilig et al. 3. Unfortunately.

4 1. alone.8 1. An alternative method of analysing the data is to plot the 95% confidence bounds on the mean vibration for any scaled distance using the statistical method outlined in Draper and Smith [9]. The experimental evidence reviewed above certainly does not seem <> § OH OH > 0 o o -0. These confidence bounds are shown in Figure 4. The lines show the 95% confidence bounds on the mean. and it is quite clear that. for all scaled distances. When their statistical method is applied to the data of Figure 4. In other words there is no significant difference in the separate regression lines for the free-face and confined blasts. This finding.W. BLAIR AND L.9 2 LOG]0 (SCALED DISTANCE) 2. suggests that the data of Heilig et al. . the 95% confidence region for the mean vibration produced by the confined blasts significantly overlaps that for the unconfined blasts. we have been unable to locate the original reasoning behind the claim that increased burden results in increased vibration.2 Fig. 4. the same conclusion results even if all the data for the confined blasts are used in the statistical analysis.5 o FREE FACE CONFINED MEAN BOUNDS.6 1. CONFINED I I O -1 1. [7] plotted over similar ranges.5 1.112 D. Incidentally. Despite a detailed literature review.7 1.P. the conclusion is that all the data is bestfitby a singleline.1 2. [7] show no convincing evidence that confined blasts produce vibrations different to those from unconfined blasts. FREE MEAN BOUNDS. ARMSTRONG Davies and Goldsmith [8] outline a series of Hypotheses testing that can be used in multiple linear regression. The data of Heilig et al.

since the direct wave system is identical for both blastholes. It is very important to note that the only difference between HI and H2 is the reflected wave system. The situation is illustrated by the two-wave system shown in Figure 5. The two-wave system for the influence of burden (b) on blast vibration. Thus there is a time delay between the action of the blasthole and its reaction off the face. The blasthole (HI. Perhaps the claim is also based upon a perception. would require clear experimental evidence for support. will back-react to produce a large vibration in the opposite direction.that the explosive in an over-burdened blasthole. reflected wave system direct wave system monitoring line direct wave system I Fig. Perhaps this claim is based. the blasthole does not 'know' the extent of the burden until a wave has travelled out to the face and then returned. since it cannot move material forward. the monitoring line will be referenced in the modelling section. The blasthole (H2. it might appear akin to Newton's Third Law of Motion-to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. and s-waves) radiating from H2. This perception warrants further investigation. . In this regard (and neglecting any role of explosive gases) the influence of burden on blast vibrations must be analysed from a viewpoint of travelling waves. However. on the perceived role of confined explosive gases. However. and if so. 5. with a fictitious line (shown dashed) placed at b just to emphasise the only difference between both holes in ideal. identical geology. say) on the right has an infinite burden. There is just one wave system (which may include various types such as pwaves. there are two wave systems associated with HI: the direct wave system and the reflected wave system. in part. and we may call it the direct wave. say) on the left is located a distance b (burden) from the free face (shown as the solid line). At first glance.'•h THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION 113 to support it.

Thus there are three main aims of the present work. to measure directly. there may also be some role played by the confined explosive gases.W. ARMSTRONG Thus the simple model of Figure 5 immediately suggests that if the reflected wave can be eliminated by some means. 2 A SIMPLE MODEL FOR THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION One of us (DPB) is currently completing a series of models to yield fast analytical solutions for the vibration produced from an explosive source located near free faces. Fourthly. to analytically evaluate the influence of burden on blast vibration using a simple model that ignores any role of explosive gases. to compare the vibrations from a free-face blast with a choked blast. an essentially conical wave hits the face at non-normal incidence. BLAIR AND L. Secondly. Thirdly. However. the most dominant reflection would only occur for plane waves normally incident on a planar free face. this wave is then incident on a ragged (non-planar) face that will promote incoherent back-scattering of the energy rather than simple reflection. Thirdly.P. a three-dimensional Dynamic Finite Element Model (DFEM) of this situation has verified the weak nature of the reflected wave. this back-scattered wave now travels back to the blasthole and beyond through ground even more damaged by the direct wave. due to the three-dimensional geometry and the finite velocity of detonation (VoD) of the explosive. the direct wave travelling towards the free face encounters ground that is usually more damaged than ground at an equal distance behind the blasthole. The combined influence of all these mechanisms is best determined experimentally. The source is either spherical [10] or cylindrical with a . In fact. Furthermore. The fact that previous experimental data shows little evidence for a burden influence on blast vibration might well be due to one or more of these mechanisms. and most importantly. In any real situation there are at least four reasons to suspect that the reflected wave might not be significant. the influence of burden on blast vibration by firing a series of single blastholes at various distances to free faces.114 D. Secondly. it is more difficult to model other influences such as back-scattering from a ragged face and wave propagation through variously damaged material. Firstly. Firstly. Although the role of wave reflection from a smooth surface can be reasonably modelled. then blast vibration is completely independent of burden.

and non-linearity is built-in at the elemental level for the cylindrical blasthole model. the incident p-waves could also produce reflected s-waves via mode conversion). The function P2 (light line) is given by an 8th order band-pass Butterworth response over the range 400 Hz to 800 Hz. and either function is applied to the wall of the spherical cavity.m which t is time and a is a constant (=10.1 ms rather than 2. Material attenuation (viscoelasticity) is also modelled approximately. The function PI (heavy line) is given by /*exp(-otf). in s).0 ms) in order to show its detail. [12. The two pressure-time functions used in the spherical source model. and only for vibrations detected along the monitoring line shown in Figure 5. and fired near one or two faces. Figure 6 shows an example of the two pressure-time functions. Since the source produces only p-waves. t.THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION 115 finite VoD [11]. The spherical cavity response to PI has been derived by Jiang et al. . The function PI has been expanded in time by a factor of 20 (its actual time duration is approximately 0. then only p-waves will be reflected for all locations along this monitoring line (for locations off this line. Only the spherical source model is considered here. used in the present model. PI and P2. and their equations have been re-cast for the Heavy line. 6.Butterworth function (P2) 10 TIME (ms) Fig. The wave mode conversion upon reflection at each boundary is accomplished by a modified method of images. for the time. The time scale for PI has been expanded by a factor of 20. 13] in a scale-independent form.t*exp(-oct) function (PI) Light line .000 s" 1 here.

The VPPV values have been normalised to that for the case of infinite burden. In this figure the VPPV values have been normalised to that for the elastic case at infinite burden. b. White [14] has given the spherical cavity response to a Heaviside unit step function. ARMSTRONG 1. The results are shown for various materials whose attenuation is described by the constant-Q viscoelastic model of Kjartansson [15].P. The vibration as a function of burden in materials of varying attenuation (I/Q) The monitor is placed 50m from the spherical source. SI.6 w < 1. Figure 8 shows the influence of burden. 7. 5). The detector is located 50 m from the source and along the monitoring line (Fig. In the present models. and the second (P2) produces a reasonable degree of oscillatory response and so allows the possibility of constructive and destructive interference of the direct wave with the reflected wave.5 Fig.4 Pi 1.5 1.2 0 0. the peak vibration is defined as the peak particle velocity for the only non-zero component (radial) lying in a direction along the monitoring line. b.8 DASHED LINE .ELASTIC CASE 1. . and so the response to P2 is obtained by first differentiating White's solution (with respect to time) and then convolving this with P2. BLAIR AND L. present specific case. Figure 7 shows the influence of burden.5 2 2. on the peak vibration produced by a spherical source (SI) for an applied load given by PI.5 BURDEN (m) 3.116 D. on the peak vibration produced by a spherical source (S2) for an applied load given by P2.W. These particular pressure-time functions are used since the first (PI) has a traditional history of application.

0 due to the burden.2 m. the model also shows that. Figure 9 shows a plan view of some of the blastholes and monitor locations. S2.5 m of crushed aggregate. in the Oroya South region of the Fimiston Open Pit Operations of Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM). which is precisely opposite to the common belief. All blastholes had a diameter 165 mm. Ironically. This simple model shows that the vibration can never increase by more than a factor of 2.2 0. The vibration as a function of burden in materials of varying attenuation (I/Q) The monitor is placed 50m from the spherical source. under certain conditions. The degree of overlap of the direct wave with the reflected wave is obviously dependent upon the width of these waves.4 0 4 6 BURDEN (m) 10 Fig. and so it is not surprising that the peak vibration depends upon the original pressure-time function and the material Q as well as the burden. 3 VIBRATION FROM BLASTHOLES FIRED WITH VARIOUS BURDENS The single blasthole trials were conducted over the period August 1997 to August 1998.THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION 2 r- 117 1.8 0. 8. and stemmed with approximately 4. were back-filled to a depth 10. the vibration decreases with increasing burden.6 CU 1. In all cases the . charged with Energan 2640 explosive having charge weights in the range 125 kg to 150 kg.

and the present trials were conducted using burdens of 0. and five repeats of 10. ARMSTRONG .2m. Figure 10 shows the vector peak particle velocity (VPPV) as a function of the scaled distance and various burdens. Some months prior.118 D. The location of some single blastholes and monitors used in the trials. monitors (triaxial accelerometer arrays) were bonded directly to rock in an approximate line that was approximately normal to the bench face.6 m. two blastholes were initiated in relatively undamaged (virgin) rock when the operating bench face was 60 m east of the closest hole.W. with four repeats of 5. not shown). The standard burden for blastholes at this KCGM site is 5. A total of 13 blastholes was monitored (with other holes elsewhere. 9.4m.2 m and 2.5.0 times the standard. Each data set is fit with a least squares .•* _ *£ 47800 O a* O 47750 47700 - ffl o • VIRGIN GROUND HOLES FREE FACE HOLES MONITORS i i *•• •** • 1 19650 19700 19750 19800 EASTING (m) 19850 Fig. These two holes are shown as the crossed squares in Figure 9 and their resultant vibration will be discussed later. 47850 . .. The burden trials commenced in January 1998. .P. BLAIR AND L. It is for this reason that the free face blastholes appear staggered in the figure. 1. The separation of blastholes along the face was 20 m since previous experience had shown that at this separation there was minimal influence of one hole on another.0 and 2.

The results are shown in Figure 11. in fact the curve fits for the 2. The conclusion was found to be that all the data is best treated as a single data set rather than grouped by burden. and so this set may then be compared with the data obtained for virgin ground. It is worthwhile comparing the VPPV measured for virgin ground with that measured for the burden trials.B U R D E N = 10.2 m . Figure 11 also shows the 95% confidence bounds on the mean. 9). It is quite obvious that the burden has an insignificant effect upon the blast vibration. there were two blastholes initiated in virgin (undamaged) ground prior to the burden trials (see Fig. In this case the Davies and Goldsmith [8] analysis shows that the data is best fit by two separate lines each having the same slope.. The VPPV as a function of burden for the single blasthole trials.4 m burdens are practically indistinguishable. However. Thus both statistical analyses show that the vibration produced from blastholes fired . power curve. 10. 100 X 20 0 3 4 5 6 1/2 SCALED DISTANCE (m/kg ) Fig. all the burden data may be considered as a single data set.THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION 119 2000 1000 —&— BURDEN=2. a formal statistical analysis was conducted on this data by first transforming each set to log 10 (VPPV) as a function of logio (scaled distance) and then applying the multiple linear regression analysis of Davies and Goldsmith [8].. According to the statistical analysis.6 m —K— BURDEN=5. As noted previously.6 m and 10. and it is quite obvious that these regions are quite distinct except for a small degree of overlap in the very near field.• .4 m > cu a.

4 D. UNDAMAGED a. The significance of these findings is raised in the Discussion section. Nine triaxial accelerometer arrays were bonded directly to the pit wall in order to measure the vibration behind each blast. The initiation sequence was similar for both blasts (17 ms between each hole. depth 11. DAMAGED MEAN BOUNDS. 4 VIBRATIONS FROM A FREE-FACE BLAST AND A CHOKE BLAST Figure 12 shows the location of the vibration monitors and blastholes for the side-by-side comparison of a choke blast of 55 holes with a free-face blast of 33 holes. J_ 0 0. 100 ms between each row). The local geology was similar for both blasts.4 0. The choke blast was fired with approximately 15 m of broken material (from a .3 m.P. Q- O S 2 18 . 16 . in the undamaged ground is significantly larger than the vibration produced from blastholes in the burden trials. Each hole had the following nominal design parameters: diameter 165 mm.120 3 2. BLAIR AND L.8 2. The single hole vibration plotted over similar ranges. 11. 14 . ARMSTRONG O • DAMAGED UNDAMAGED MEAN BOUNDS.W. The lines show the 95% confidence bounds on the mean.8 LOG10 (SCALED DISTANCE) Fig. charge weight 190 kg (Energan 2640) and stemming length 3.6 0.2 0.9 m.6 > 2.

However. The work of Farnbach [16] is now extended to the analysis of triaxial measurements. T(t) and V(t) are the triaxial components of the . This envelope function gives the instantaneous vibration amplitude at any particular time. In order to distinguish between the choke blast and the free-face blast. whereas the vector sum (which reduces to the modulus of the sine wave in this case) is not. Traditionally. 1999) and the free-face blast fired one day later.THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION 121 47720. If L{t). the vector sum is not a measure of the vibration amplitude as a function of time. Vs(t). previous blast) lying in front. a vibration measure (such as the amplitude) is required for all times throughout these multi-hole blasts. However. For example. The peak vibration for the case of a single blasthole is conveniently described by the vector peak particle velocity (VPPV) which is just one point on the entire vibration vector trace. In this regard Farnbach [16] shows how the vibration envelope function may be obtained as a function of time for any single waveform by using Hilbert transform techniques. the vector sum waveform. 12. the envelope function of a single component sine wave is constant and equal to its amplitude. The location of monitors and blastholes for the two blasts. is used.47700 47680 ° o° o o°o Oo°O o o°o + o • MONITORS CHOKE BLAST FREE-FACE BLAST a z X H a: 47660 47640 47620 47600 ° °n° o o°o o 47580 18840 18860 18880 18900 18920 18940 18960 18980 EASTING (m) Fig. such a measure gives no information on how the vibration varies with time. The choke blast was fired first (13th Feb.

13.742. The vector peak is given by (I 2 + 2 2 + 32)1'2 = 3.4 0.6 TIME (ARBITRARY UNITS) 0. and agrees with the peak value of the envelope function. then an envelope function. E(t). Neglecting the taper regions. t.2 and 3 units. In this regard.P. may be defined as: E{t) = (2) This particular form of the envelope function is chosen in order to ensure that the peak value of Vs(t) is almost identical to the peak value of E(t). ARMSTRONG vibration as a function of time. it is or) H VECTOR SUM ENVELOPE FUNCTION H < O H m 0 0.122 D. Tapering is used at the beginning and end of each waveform in this simple example to avoid FFT time window effects.2 0. T(t) and V{t).Vs(t) is given by: Vs(t) = (1) If HL(t). T(t) and V(t) are given by sine waves of amplitudes 1. the Hilbert Transforms are calculated efficiently using Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) techniques. respectively.W. respectively. Figure 13 shows the vector sum and the envelope function for the case in which L(t). .8 Fig. BLAIR AND L. In the present work. 2 and 3 units. then the traditional vector sum. HT{t) and Hv(t) are the Hilbert transforms of L(t). The vector sum and the envelope function for the superposition of 3 sine waves with amplitudes 1.

3 TIME (s) 0.5 s or so. However. Therefore.THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION 250 rCHOKH BLAST FREE-FACE BLAST 123 200 £ 150 t ioo 50 0 0 0.2 s. especially over the first 0. Figures 14 and 15 show that there is no evidence to suggest that the choke blast has produced vibrations larger than those of the free-face blast.6 Fig. In this regard. Figure 14 shows the mean vibration envelope (averaged over all 9 monitors) for each blast. The envelope function clearly meets this expectation whereas the vector sum does not. 14. each blast was modelled using the . However.1 0. a clearer comparison of the vibration from each blast may be made by averaging each envelope function at each detector over a sliding time window of specified width.1 s.2 0. the window width for smoothing the envelope function for each monitor was arbitrarily chosen to be 0.4 0. The vibration mean envelope functions for the choke and free-face blasts. it should be appreciated that the first row of overburdened holes in the choke blast has completely initiated after 0. expected that such a superposition of sine waves should give a total amplitude that is constant with time. there were some slight differences in the actual design of each blast (such as charge weights and number of blastholes) and a definitive comment regarding relative vibration levels can only be made after these variables are taken into account.5 0. Figure 15 shows the vibration smoothed envelope function for both blasts. these time-averaged envelopes may then be averaged over all detectors to form a vibration smoothed envelope function.

250 rCHOKE BLAST FREE-FACE BLAST 200 w D H Q 150 S 100 50 0.4 0.4 0.5 0. ARMSTRONG 200 CHOKE BLAST FREE-FACE BLAST £ Q D 150 100 50 0 0 0.1 0. 15. BLAIR AND L.W.2 0. 16. The vibration smoothed envelope functions for the choke and free-face blasts.- D.1 0.3 TIME (s) 0.124 250 .P. .5 0. Monte Carlo solution for the vibration smoothed envelope functions for the choke and free-face blasts.3 TIME (s) 0.6 Fig.2 0.6 Fig.

they conducted gas pressure measurements in some of the single blastholes and demonstrated that the extent of gas penetration beyond the immediate confines of the blasthole was also independent of burden in the . Figure 16 shows the Monte Carlo results for both blasts. all blastholes in both blasts are assumed to behave in a similar manner with regard to vibration.hi THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION 125 Monte Carlo technique outlined in Blair [17]. in other words.52 s Fig. Nevertheless.. It should be appreciated that the Monte Carlo model does not account for the fact that holes in the choke blast were overburdened.4 s. The fact that only a small difference was observed is direct evidence that the overburdened holes in the choke blast did not produce vibration larger than that of corresponding holes in the free-face blast. on the other hand. Thus the blast design. However. [18] shows that this mechanism is probably insignificant. reflected waves due to waves incident normally on the free surface). In this regard it is interesting to note that we found no evidence of a reflected wave in any of our experiments. anyway. Thus it is reasonable to assume that one or more of the four mechanisms was in operation. 16). itself. is such that there should be little difference in vibration between the choke blast and the free-face blast for the first 0. The results shown in Figures 7 and 8 for the analytical model neglected the influence of explosive gases on burden (confinement) because it was too difficult to model this mechanism. The Dynamic Finite Element Model (DFEM).e. analytical models were used to investigate the case where waves were reflected with maximum amplitude (i. 5 DISCUSSION In the introduction four possible mechanisms were suggested to explain why vibration waves reflected off a free face might have insignificant amplitude. the work of Brent et al. due to the three-dimensional nature of the problem. Such models will yield an upper bound to the influence of burden on blast vibration. 15) is larger than that due to the free-face blast solely because of the design (as shown by Fig. In this regard. It was also shown that an absence of reflected waves would imply that vibration was independent of burden provided any role of explosive gases was neglected. showed that it is more likely that any reflection will not be significant anyway. The measured peak vibration for the choke blast (at approximately 0. approximately.

The large burden typical of such situations . However. but is dependent upon the condition of the rock mass close to the hole. but rather an influence due to ground condition. Thus. the offset) occurs directly at the source. be independent of confinement for the present burdens of 2.4m. an increase in vibration with burden might simply reflect the fact that the holes further from the face are fired in ground less damaged than that slightly closer to the face. alone. in the extreme case when the burden approaches zero.e. itself. then it would be quite difficult to isolate the burden influence. The fact that explosive gases play such an insignificant role in this aspect obviously improves the relevance of the analytical model and DFEM for the prediction of vibration as a function of burden. the blast vibration is not dependent upon the volume of ground that the charged hole has to excavate. the vibration is not insensitive to the local rock condition surrounding the blasthole.. gasventing and reduced vibration will occur.. i. since source radiation is expected to be strongly dependent upon its coupling to the surrounding rock mass. Furthermore. Blast vibrations due to presplits and drop-cuts are often claimed to be high relative to the charge weights used. this is not relevant to the present trials that have only considered burden variations within a reasonable range. Obviously. unambiguously. also suggests that the observed difference in attenuation (i. BLAIR AND L.6 m. for the frequencies of present interest.2 m and 10. ARMSTRONG present trials. Furthermore. In this case it would not be a burden effect per se. As noted earlier in regard to Figure 11. the attenuation of peak vibration with distance (and hence the slope) is primarily dependent on geometric spreading rather than rock mass condition. the source. This inference is not surprising. This finding. the statistical evidence suggests that the vibration data for blasting in damaged ground is significantly lower than that for blasting in undamaged ground. In other words. 5. itself. On the other hand. too. although vibration appears to be independent of burden over the ranges of present interest (or at least insensitive to it). the observed data of Figure 10 directly implies that any influence of explosive gases on vibration (although difficult to quantify) must. Alternatively expressed. suggests that even if an apparent dependence of vibration on burden was to be found at a particular site.e. the slope of both data sets was found to be similar. This. produces less vibration if it is located in damaged ground.P. the difference is due to the offset alone.126 D. The fact that the slopes are similar strongly suggests that the attenuation of vibration as a function of distance is the same for both data sets. in turn.W. For example.

In this aspect. then the choke blast has a better chance of absorbing such waves than does the free-face blast. It is well known in dynamics that a partially restricted boundary is more likely to absorb incident waves (i. In this regard it is interesting to note that broken material lying in front of the face (i. For example. by simply considering the role of reflected waves. These models. even though all such holes had similar scaled distances in relation to the monitors. the vibration from some of the overburdened holes in the front row of the choke blast appears to be somewhat lower than the vibration from corresponding holes in the free-face blast. This justifies neglecting any role of explosive gases in the present models used to predict the influence of burden on blast vibration. but rather to the fact that all such blastholes are-typically initiated in undamaged ground. Based upon this reasoning and if a. reasoning was given to show that the vibration might well be insensitive to burden in many situations... choke blasting might well provide a better insurance against high vibrations reaching the wall of an open pit. the evidence of Brent et al.THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION 127 is the popular reason generally given for the high vibration in these cases.e. . it might well be expected that choke blasts would reduce blast vibrations rather than increase them. reflected wave happens to occur to any significant degree. which also assumed optimal reflection of vibration waves. This outcome is certainly not inconsistent with the present experimental data. 6 CONCLUSIONS A literature survey of previous results showed that there was no convincing evidence to support the popular claim that vibration increases with increasing burden. However. [18] suggests that such influences might be insignificant anyway. reduce any reflected waves) than is a completely free or fixed boundary. as in the choke blast) provides some degree of confinement to vibration waves incident on the solid face-broken rock boundary. Although the influence of explosive gases on vibration would be difficult to model. the present work strongly suggests that the high vibration is not due to the large burden. On the other hand. if the outgoing wave system (the direct wave shown in Fig. 5) from each blasthole is optimally incident on the face.e. According to Figure 14. In other words this boundary is neither completely free to move (as in a free-face blast) nor completely fixed (as in the case of a rigid boundary).

10 (1973). Blair. is consistent with the fact that the vibration was found to be independent of burden as shown by the data in Figure 10 for the single blastholes. and by the data of Figures 14 and 15 for production blasts. and Birney. In particular. on Explosives and Blasting Technique. 6. REFERENCES 1. Gil Smith. G. Proc. 1996.: A blast damage study in blasthole open stope mining. the experimental waveforms also showed that the reflected wave was too insignificant to detect. O.W. Sixth Conf. for a source of very small time duration.W. B. . 7) which is precisely opposite to the common belief.: Model rock blasting effect of explosives properties and other variables on blasting results.0 due to burden. 4.. and Dave Kennedy performed the threedimensional DFEM analysis for a single blasthole firing to a free face. F. particularly with regard to site availability and drilling of test holes.: Vibration Signatures Due to Single Blastholes Fired in the Charlotte Deeps. Abstr. 5. Ashby. 10. J. Liu. pp. Symp. Prentice-Hall. BLAIR AND L. 3..C. However. Ludwig. Bergmann. This observation. Riggle. on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting. Proc. Q.. Min. the vibration invariably decreases with increasing burden (see Fig. 451-459. 291-311.L. pp. alone. 585-612. C. J. pp. D.: The development and implementation of efficient wall control blast designs. Explosives Eng. J. 12-18. Dave Kay and Sahul Rafiudeen.P. rock Q). Fifth Int. 297. Vienna. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The considerable effort of KCGM (especially Ian Brunton) and Roche Mining personnel in all the vibration trials is gratefully acknowledged. J. Dowding. Florida.: Blast Vibration Monitoring and Control. ICI Confidential Internal Report. The present work has also shown that it is not the burden that determines the vibration but rather the condition of the rock mass surrounding the blasthole. 1980.P.e. Sci. 1985. 2.: Production blasting and the development of open pit slopes. 15 (1998). also gave invaluable assistance during various stages of the monitoring. ARMSTRONG showed that the vibration can never increase by more than a factor of 2. Floyd. Int.P. & Geomech. The models also predicted that vibration can either increase or decrease with increasing burden depending upon the source type and the rock attenuation (i. Orica colleagues.H.128 D. and Wu. pp. 1994. Rock Mech.R.

4737^748. N. J. Kjartansson. Methods Geomech. Australia.L. D.: Underground sound. H. 13.G.. P. Davies. and Goldsmith.. Australia. 335-364. 119 (1994). Anal. J. Geophys.: Dynamic response of an elastic and viscoelastic fullspace to a spherical source. Geophys. Montreal. J. pp. 1996.: Dynamic response of a half-space to a buried spherical source. J.: Statistical Methods in Research and Production. 16. 10.P. D. 41st Annual Conf. Int. 8. pp. 14. Blair.R. 709. London. A. 19 (1995). Blake. Blair.P.: On the damage zone surrounding a single blasthole. 18. and Cox.: Free face blasting: Is it the best for quarrying? Proc. 121-130. and Smith. Soc.: Spherical wave propagation in solid media. G. G. [in press]. Farnbach. Numer. Smith. Longman. Brent. J. E. 253. 1983. Int. 11. pp.F.. 211-215. 1981.L. White.. Rock Fragmentation by Blasting.S. Seism. 3 (1999). Institute of Quarrying. Blair. and Blair.TV7 THE INFLUENCE OF BURDEN ON BLAST VIBRATION 129 7. J. Symp. 84 (1979). Int.: Applied Regression Analysis.: The complex envelope in seismic signal analysis.. pp. Res. Elsevier. 65 (1975). J. F. 951-962. GR.E. Am. Draper. Aus. 2nd ed. pp. 1972. and Lye. pp.M. 753-765.P. Canada. 181-193. -9. O.: Constant Q wave propagation and attenuation. J. Application of Seismic Waves. 24(2) (1952). G.. . 15.M. Bull. EXPLO 2001. pp. D. and Minchintonm A.R. I. Blasting and Fragmentation. Zoitsas./.P. D. John Wiley and Sons.: Studies on the Effect of Burden on Blast Damage and the Implementation of New Blasting Practices at KCGM's Fimiston Mine. NSW. N. Soc. Acoust. and Baird. 17. J. Fifth Int. Jiang.E. Jiang.: Statistical Models for ground vibration and airblast. 1997. G. 12. Baird. Am. Heilig.