Distinct element modeling and analysis of mining-induced subsidence

K. M. O'Connor*, Ch H. Dowding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The influence of rock discontinuities on mining-induced subsidence is addressed in this paper. A two-dimensional rigid block computer model was used to simulate discontinuities within strata overlying a longwall coal mine. Input for the model was available from a previous field study and numerical experiments were performed by varying the simulated joint stiffness, joint roughness, and vertical joint density. A comparison of simulated and measured displacements both within the overburden and on the surface provides insight into the influence of rock discontinuities. For the case in which all contacts had a relatively low stiffness, the maximum simulated subsidence was 293 mm whereas the case involving variable, but higher contact stiffness produced a maximum subsidence of only 73 mm reflecting the influence of increased overall stiffness. By comparison, the maximum measured subsidence was 580 mm. Consequently, the model behaved more stiffly than the actual rock mass but still provided a reliable simulation of block caving and strata separation. A comparison of simulated and observed displacements within the overburden suggests that horizontal discontinuities not included in the rigid block mesh above the zone of caving controlled rock mass compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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