Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mining Engineering

Committee Chair

Keith A. Heasley.


Mining activity at increasingly greater depths and the tragedy at Crandall Canyon that claimed the lives of nine miners have forced coal bump research to the forefront of mining engineering research. Near the end of the last century, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the former U.S. Bureau of Mines investigated the mechanics, conditions, and mitigation of coal bumps. Unfortunately, the exact mechanics of coal bumps is still not fully understood. Following this period, research into coal bumps in the United States has been limited.;The Energy Release Rate (ERR) calculation quantifies the dissipation ("release") of the gravitational potential energy of the rock mass as mining progresses. This release of energy can occur passively in the form of heat and sound, or dynamically in the form of coal or rock outbursts. From the initial application of a calculated ERR in the deep hard-rock mines of South Africa, the ERR was found to have a significant correlation with the risk or potential of damaging coal bumps or rock bursts. In the mid 1990s, the ERR was incorporated into the MULSIM/NL displacement-discontinuity computer program and used with limited success.;In this research, an ERR calculation is incorporated into the modern LaModel computer program to facilitate an analysis for potential coal bumps. Initially, the ERR calculations in LaModel are verified using a case study of cut sequences originally modeled using the MULSIM/NL computer program. Then, the ERR calculations are applied to a bump-prone mine in Southern Appalachia where a number of different pillar recovery cut sequences were used/analyzed in order to minimize the risk of bumps.;Incorporating the ERR calculations into the LaModel program further enhances the most widely used boundary-element model to allow for appropriate bump risk assessment. With this new analysis tool, engineers can adequately perform coal bump risk assessments with an increased margin of confidence.