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A deployment of broadband seismic stations in two deep gold mines, South Africa

August 21, 2009

In-mine seismic networks throughout the TauTona and Mponeng gold mines provide precise locations and seismic source parameters of earthquakes. They also support small-scale experimental projects, including NELSAM (Natural Earthquake Laboratory in South African Mines), which is intended to record, at close hand, seismic rupture of a geologic fault that traverses the project region near the deepest part of TauTona. To resolve some questions regarding the in-mine and NELSAM networks, we deployed four portable broadband seismic stations at deep sites within TauTona and Mponeng for one week during September 2007 and recorded ground acceleration. Moderately large earthquakes within our temporary network were recorded with sufficiently high signal-to-noise that we were able to integrate the acceleration to ground velocity and displacement, from which moment tensors could be determined. We resolved the questions concerning the NELSAM and in-mine networks by using these moment tensors to calculate synthetic seismograms at various network recording sites for comparison with the ground motion recorded at the same locations. We also used the peak velocity of the S wave pulse, corrected for attenuation with distance, to estimate the maximum slip within the rupture zone of an earthquake. We then combined the maximum slip and seismic moment with results from laboratory friction experiments to estimate maximum slip rates within the same high-slip patches of the rupture zone. For the four largest earthquakes recorded within our network, all with magnitudes near 2, these inferred maximum slips range from 4 to 27 mm and the corresponding maximum slip rates range from 1 to 6 m/s. These results, in conjunction with information from previous ground motion studies, indicate that underground support should be capable of withstanding peak ground velocities of at least 5 m/s.

Publication Year 2009
Title A deployment of broadband seismic stations in two deep gold mines, South Africa
Authors Arthur F. McGarr, Margaret S. Boettcher, Jon Peter B. Fletcher, Malcolm J. S. Johnston, R. Durrheim, S. Spottiswoode, A. Milev
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70156396
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center