Influence of Strip Mines on Regional Ground-Water Flow

by John L. Wilson, (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., Cambridge, Mass.,
David A. Hamilton, Hydrologic Engr.; Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources, Lansing, Mich.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 9, Pg. 1213-1223

Document Type: Journal Paper


The effect of an operational strip mine on regional ground-water flow is investigated using a finite element model of the steady flow system. Mine location, mine size, water-table configuration, and subsurface layering of aquifer units are examined. The results demonstrate that: (1)The impact of a mine can extend far beyond its radius of influence at the water table; (2)mines placed near regional discharge areas have a more significant effect on the regional system; (3)natural water-table variation due to topography masks the effects of some mines; and (4)buried aquifers beneath the mine excavation limit the amount of flow field distortion caused by the mine.

Subject Headings: Groundwater flow | Water table | Mines and mining | Finite element method | Aquifers | Water discharge | Water flow | Hydrologic models

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