Authors: Wang, X; Cai, M


Cite As:
Wang, X & Cai, M 2017, 'Numerical analysis of ground motion in a South African mine using SPECFEM3D', in M Hudyma & Y Potvin (eds), UMT 2017: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Underground Mining Technology, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 255-268,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

Intensive seismicity was often observed in the front of tabular stopes in South African gold mines. The seismicity was usually caused by high stress concentration due to excavation, and some of the seismic events were fault rupture events. This study focuses on numerical modelling of seismic wave propagation resulted from a moment magnitude Mw = 1.4 seismic event occurring on 9 July 1996 at Mponeng mine in South Africa, using an advanced numerical tool called SPECFEM3D. Both point and non-point source models are considered and ground motions along a haulage tunnel at a depth of 2,650 m are analysed and compared with field monitoring data. It is found that the non-point source model produces better results than the point source model in near-source field. The haulage tunnel and the mined-out areas have a large influence on the ground motions. In the modelling results, strong ground motion localisation is observed at certain areas of the haulage tunnel and in the mined-out areas. Most of the simulated seismograms agree with the field recorded ones. It is seen that SPECFEM3D is a useful tool for modelling seismic wave propagation in underground mines.

Keywords: ground motion modelling, seismic wave propagation, source models, SPECFEM3D

Beresnev, IA & Atkinson, GM 2002, ‘Source parameters of earthquakes in eastern and western North America based on finite-fault modeling’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 92, no. 2, pp. 695–710.
Boore, DM 2003, ‘Simulation of ground motion using the stochastic method’, Pure and Applied Geophysics, vol. 160, no. 3–4, pp. 635–676.
Cai, M, Kaiser, P & Duff, D 2012, ‘Rock support design in burst-prone ground utilizing an interactive design tool’, Proceedings of the 46th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, American Rock Mechanics Association, ARMA 12-599, Alexandria.
Cai, M & Wang, X 2015, ‘A non-uniform velocity model and FLAC/SPECFEM2D coupled numerical simulation of wave propagation in underground mines’, Proceeding of the 13th ISRM International Congress of Rock Mechanics, International Society for Rock Mechanics, Lisbon, paper 275, 217 p.
Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics 2012, SPECFEM2D User Manual, version 7.0, viewed 30 May 2017, .
Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics 2014, SPECFEM3D Cartesian User Manual, version 2.1, viewed 30 May 2017, .
Doornbos, D 1982, ‘Seismic moment tensors and kinematic source parameters’, Geophysical Journal International, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 235–251.
Dowrick, DJ & Rhoades, DA 2004, ‘Relations between earthquake magnitude and fault rupture dimensions: How regionally variable are they?’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 94, no. 3, pp. 776–788.
Haddon, R 1996, ‘Use of empirical Green's functions, spectral ratios, and kinematic source models for simulating strong ground motion’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 86, no. 3, pp. 597–615.
Kaiser, P & Cai, M 2012, ‘Design of rock support system under rockburst condition’, Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 215–227.
Komatitsch, D, Barnes, C & Tromp, J 2000, ‘Simulation of anisotropic wave propagation based upon a spectral element method’, Geophysics, vol. 65, no. 4, pp. 1251–1260.
Komatitsch, D & Tromp, J 1999, ‘Introduction to the spectral element method for three-dimensional seismic wave propagation’, Geophysical Journal International, vol. 139, no. 3, pp. 806–822.
Kwiatek, G, Plenkers, K & Dresen, G 2011, ‘Source parameters of picoseismicity recorded at Mponeng deep gold mine, South Africa: implications for scaling relations’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 101, no. 6, pp. 2592–2608.
Mai, PM & Beroza, GC 2000, ‘Source scaling properties from finite-fault-rupture models’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 90, no. 3, pp. 604–615.
McGarr, A 1971, ‘Violent deformation of rock near deep-level, tabular excavations—seismic events’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 61, no. 5, pp. 1453–1466.
McGarr, A 1994, ‘Some comparisons between mining-induced and laboratory earthquakes’, Pure and Applied Geophysics, vol. 142, no. 3–4, pp. 467–489.
McGarr, A, Spottiswoode, S & Gay, N 1975, ‘Relationship of mine tremors to induced stresses and to rock properties in the focal region’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 65, no. 4, pp. 981–993.
McGarr, A, Spottiswoode, S, Gay, N & Ortlepp, W 1979, ‘Observations relevant to seismic driving stress, stress drop, and efficiency’, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012), vol. 84, no. B5, pp. 2,251–2,261.
Miyake, H, Iwata, T & Irikura, K 2003, ‘Source characterization for broadband ground-motion simulation: Kinematic heterogeneous source model and strong motion generation area’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 93, no. 6,
pp. 2531–2,45.
Ogasawara, H & The Research Group for Semi-controlled Earthquake-generation Experiments in South African Deep Gold Mines 2002, ‘Review of semi-controlled earthquake generation experiments in South African deep gold mines’, in H Ogasawara, T Yanagidani and M Ando (eds), Seismogenic Process Monitoring, A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp. 119–150.
Richardson, E & Jordan, TH 2002, ‘Seismicity in deep gold mines of South Africa: Implications for tectonic earthquakes’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 92, no. 5, pp. 1,766–1,782.
Spottiswoode, S & McGarr, A 1975, ‘Source parameters of tremors in a deep-level gold mine’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 93–112.
Wang, X & Cai, M 2015, ‘Influence of wavelength-to-excavation span ratio on ground motion around deep underground excavations’, Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, vol. 49, pp. 438–453.
Wang, X & Cai, M 2016, ‘FLAC/SPECFEM2D coupled numerical simulation of wavefields near excavation boundaries in underground mines’, Computers & Geosciences, vol. 96, pp. 147–158.
Wells, DL & Coppersmith, KJ 1994, ‘New empirical relationships among magnitude, rupture length, rupture width, rupture area, and surface displacement’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 84, no. 4, pp. 974–1002.
Yamada, T, Mori, JJ, Ide, S, Abercrombie, RE, Kawakata, H, Nakatani, M, Iio, Y & Ogasawara, H 2007, ‘Stress drops and radiated seismic energies of microearthquakes in a South African gold mine’, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
(1978–2012), vol. 112, no. B03305.
Yamada, T, Mori, JJ, Ide, S, Kawakata, H, Iio, Y & Ogasawara, H 2005, ‘Radiation efficiency and apparent stress of small earthquakes in a South African gold mine’, Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 110, no. B01305.

© Copyright 2022, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
Please direct any queries or error reports to