Overview of current research areas:
Currently, the majority of my research projects are related to various aspects of mining induced seismicity and the nature of stress fields in the complex geological environments of mines. A chronic problem in deep hard rock mines is induced seismicity and rock mass fracturing. As with crustal earthquakes, prediction of the time and location of these seismic events remains an unsolved problem. Despite the elusive nature of this goal, a practical engineering understanding of the induced seismicity problem can be achieved by carefully analyzing the relationship between factors such as structures, stress field, mining activities, rock mass characteristics and seismic response. The objective of this research is to develop guidelines, tools and procedures to mitigate induced seismicity and its effect that can be used in the mining industry to make informed mine design decisions.
Connected with the investigation of induces seismicity is fundamental research into the nature of stress fields in mines. In most cases, mines are located in complex geological environments (which is why mineralization is there in the first place), and there is strong anecdotal evidence that stress field is strongly affected by geological factors such as faults, material contrasts and past geological processes. This inherited memory is not generally accounted for in stability analyses used for mine design purposes, principally because of the difficulty in being able to map the stress field except at an extremely small number of points (or more typically – none). This investigation is being carried out using a variety of tools, including numerical stress analysis and a variety of techniques originally developed fur use in crustal seismology.
Students and collaborators working in both areas come from a variety of backgrounds, but principally from mining engineering, geological engineering, geology, and geophysics.