Heterogeneity in rock formation affects both rock behavior and strength. Spatial variance of rock properties is an important characteristic of rock that addresses the heterogeneity of mechanical and physical properties and their effects on underground mining. Assessing spatial variance can be useful for locating potential difficult grounds and for performing reliability analysis in the mining support system. This study presents a spatially correlated, random model to investigate the influence of rock heterogeneity on rock strength and failure propagation. A random field database with specific spatial correlation was created for each physical-mechanical property using laboratory data and the extreme value stochastic model in MATLAB. Based on the improved microscale random model, we considered one three-dimensional numerical model to study a mine operating in the Pittsburgh seam. The influence of random field data on entry roof was investigated. The realistic random field database added two scale-measured parameters from horizontal and vertical directions to control the spatial correlation length. A number of cutting sequences were also considered in order to identify the effect of spatial variance on roof behavior. The results show that spatial variance provides an accurate prediction of erratic roof falls in coal mines.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020) 37:1557–1570, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00258-x