Seismic Signals from Mining Operations and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Comments On A Draft Report By A Department Of Energy Working Group

Committee on Seismic Signals from Mining Activities

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1998



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--> Seismic Signals from Mining Operations and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Comments On A Draft Report By A Department Of Energy Working Group Committee on Seismic Signals from Mining Activities Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1998

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--> NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this study was provided by Award No. DE-AF01-97NN20001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Energy’s Office of Non-Proliferation and National Security. Copies of this report are available from Board on Earth Sciences and Resources National Research Council National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 Cover: Video image taken 6.300 seconds into a large cast shot at the Black Thunder coal mine in Wyoming. Superimposed on the image are traces of the radial (R), transverse (T), and vertical (Z) velocities recorded 5 km from the blast. The vertical bar at the right side of the traces is at 6.3 seconds after the beginning of the shot. The three-component particle velocity is represented in the lower right-hand corner. Figure courtesy of Brian Stump and David Anderson, both at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. 0-309-06178-4 Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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--> COMMITTEE ON SEISMIC SIGNALS FROM MINING ACTIVITIES THOMAS J. O'NEIL, Chair, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., Cleveland, Ohio THOMAS J. AHRENS, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CATHERINE T. AIMONE-MARTIN, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology, Socorro ROBERT R. BLANDFORD, Air Force Technical Applications Center, Arlington, Virginia BLAIR M. GARDNER, Arch Coal, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri MICHAEL E. KARMIS, Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University, Blacksburg WILLIAM S. LEITH, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia JEAN-MICHEL M. RENDU, Newmont Gold Company, Denver, Colorado JOHN WIEGAND, Vibronics, Inc., Evansville, Indiana ZAVIS M. ZAVODNI, Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation, Salt Lake City NRC Staff THOMAS M. USSELMAN, Senior Staff Officer VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Assistant JUDITH L. ESTEP, Administrative Assistant

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--> BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES J. FREEMAN GILBERT, Chair, University of California, San Diego KENNETH I. DAUGHERTY, Tracor Information, Fairfax, Virginia RICHARD S. FISKE, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. JAMES M. FUNK, Shell Continental Companies, Houston, Texas WILLIAM L. GRAF, Arizona State University, Tempe CHARLES G. GROAT, University of Texas, El Paso DONALD C. HANEY, Kentucky Geological Survey, Lexington RAYMOND JEANLOZ, University of California, Berkeley SUSAN M. KIDWELL, University of Chicago, Illinois SUSAN KIEFFER, Kieffer & Woo, Inc., Palgrave, Ontario PAMELA LUTTRELL, Mobil Corporation, Dallas, Texas J. BERNARD MINSTER, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California ALEXANDRA NAVROTSKY, Princeton University, New Jersey DIANNE R. NIELSON, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City JILL D. PASTERIS, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri EDWARD C. ROY, Jr., Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas EDWARD M. STOLPER, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena MILTON H. WARD, Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, Engelwood, Colorado NRC Staff CRAIG M. SCHIFFRIES, Director THOMAS M. USSELMAN, Associate Director WILLIAM E. BENSON, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Senior Program Officer TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Program Officer LALLY A. ANDERSON, Staff Associate VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Assistant JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Assistant JUDITH L. ESTEP, Administrative Assistant

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--> COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville PATRICK R. ATKINS, Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania JERRY F. FRANKLIN, University of Washington, Seattle B. JOHN GARRICK, PLG, Inc., Newport Beach, California THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Foundation, Washington, D.C. KAIN. LEE, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts JUDITH E. MCDOWELL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts RICHARD A. MESERVE, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C. HUGH C. MORRIS, Canadian Global Change Program, Delta, British Columbia RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario H. RONALD PULLIAM, University of Georgia, Athens THOMAS C. SCHELLING, University of Maryland, College Park VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL, Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park MARY LOU ZOBACK, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California NRC Staff ROBERT M. HAMILTON, Executive Director GREGORY H. SYMMES, Assistant Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative and Financial Officer SANDIFITZ PATRICK, Administrative Associate MARQUITA SMITH, Administrative Assistant/Technology Analyst

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--> The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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--> This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making their published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Michael Barber Director of Field Technical Operations Energetic Solutions, Inc. Dallas, Texas Thomas Falkie President Berwind Natural Resources Corp. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Francis S. Kendorski Divisional Director Weir International Mining Consultants Des Plaines, Illinois Thorne Lay Professor Earth Science Department University of California Santa Cruz, California Paul G. Richards Professor Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Columbia University Palisades, New York Terry C. Wallace, Jr. Professor Department of Geosciences University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona Milton H. Ward Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Cyprus Amax Minerals Company Englewood, Colorado Mary Lou Zoback U.S. Geological Survey Menlo Park, California While the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.

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--> Preface In 1996, the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Non-Proliferation and National Security organized a working group to synthesize the results of a research program that addressed the nature of seismic signals from mining operations and whether such signals might be of concern to monitoring and compliance of the recently negotiated Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). A number of mining-related seismic signals were detectable or visible to the International Monitoring System, which was being developed for the treaty. As such, the DOE Working Group considered measures that could help reduce the visibility of mining-related seismic signals and ways of distinguishing between seismic signals emanating from natural earthquakes, nuclear tests, and legitimate mining operations. The DOE Working Group was co-chaired by François Heuze (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) and Brian W. Stump (Los Alamos National Laboratory). In March 1997, the DOE Working Group issued a draft report and recommendations entitled Reducing the Ambiguity and Visibility of Seismic Signals from Mining Activities: Benefits to the Mining Industries and to the Communities Monitoring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). That same month (March 1997), the DOE's Office of Non-Proliferation and National Security requested that the National Research Council (NRC) undertake a study to review the draft report. The request specifically asked the NRC committee to address the following questions in its charge: (1)   Are the recommendations scientifically valid? (2)   Would the recommendations result in reduced seismic visibility if implemented? (3)   Are there additional practices that would reduce the ambiguity and visibility of seismic signals from mine-related events? (4)   How should the recommendations be disseminated to the mining community to promote their use in mine engineering practice?

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--> To draw upon the expertise and experience of several relevant NRC units, the scope and nature of the study was discussed by the NRC's Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and three of its committees. The Committee on Seismology recently completed two reports relevant to the CTBT and has been involved in issues of seismic monitoring of nuclear explosions for over 30 years. The Committee on Earth Resources focuses on energy and mineral resource issues and has expertise in mining. And finally, the U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics has expertise in geomechanics, blasting, and ground failures. The proposed study also was discussed by the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems. These discussions were useful in informing these committees about the study, obtaining input from leading experts in several key disciplines, and obtaining suggestions for potential committee members. The Committee on Mine Seismicity and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was appointed by the chairman of the NRC in November 1997. In January 1998, the committee met and held open discussions with four of the DOE Working Group members and a representative of DOE's Office of Non-Proliferation and National Security. In February 1998, the committee met again to prepare the report; consensus was readily achieved.

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--> Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   3     CTBT Goals   3     CTBT Monitoring Methods   4     Mining Activities that Generate Seismic Signals   5     Ambiguity and On-Site Inspections   5     Goals of DOE Working Group Report   6 2   General Comment on the Draft Report of the DOE Working Group   11 3   Restatement of the Problem   15 4   An Alternative Approach   19     Background   19     Cooperative Measures   19     How Cooperation Could Work   21     Additional Benefits   22 5   Communications   23     Trade Associations   24     Professional Societies   24     Government Agencies   25 6   Additional Research   27     Sympathetic Detonations   27     Programmable Detonators   28     Ground Failures   28     Instrumentation and Analysis of Ground Motion Waveform Characteristics   28     Discrimination of Seismic Signals   29

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--> 7   Conclusions   31 Appendix A:   Specific Comments on the Draft Report of the DOE-Working Group Report   33 Appendix B:   Executive Summary Of the DOE-Working Group Report   43 Appendix C:   Committee on Seismic Signals from Mining Activities   55