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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

versão On-line ISSN 2411-9717
versão impressa ISSN 0038-223X

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.110 no.1 Johannesburg Jan. 2010

 

TRANSACTION PAPER

 

Mine seismicity: Prediction or forecasting?

 

 

S.M. Spottiswoode

Florida Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

 

 


SYNOPSIS

Much as one hopes to predict whether damaging seismicity might occur somewhere in the next shift, this is not possible at present. Recently, an analysis of seismicity at two mines has shown that a small increase in seismicity occasionally occurs before both large and small events. This analysis is extended here to five mines, with the same results.
Earthquake seismologists forecast hazard in terms of the average incidence of earthquakes over the last 50 years, adjusted on an hourly basis according to the possibility of aftershocks of events that have happened.
The rate of seismicity in any area remains approximately constant when expressed as seismicity per area mined, or better still, per unit of elastic strain energy released. It is suggested that seismic hazard in mines be estimated using historical seismicity and forward modelling, adjusted according to the possibility of aftershocks.
In summary, medium-term forecasting of seismicity is viable; short-term prediction of large events is not.


 

 

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