November 2023
Volume 75    Issue 11

Massive pillar collapses in US underground limestone mines: 2015–2021

Rumbaugh, Gregory M.; Mark, Christopher; Kostecki, Todd R.


From 2015 to 2021, five massive pillar collapses occurred at four underground stone mines in the eastern United States. Pillar collapses are particularly hazardous for miners because they can occur with little warning and can affect miners that are far from the pillar collapse area. The following case studies show that certain factors may increase the likelihood of a pillar collapse. For instance, each of the five events involved at least 12 benched pillars with width-to-height ratios (w/h) of 0.8 or less. This study elaborates on these factors and proposes a framework to assist mine operators where they identify similar hazards.

Full-text paper:
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration,


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