Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

John D Quaranta

Committee Co-Chair

Joseph Donovan

Committee Member

Keith Heasley

Committee Member

Hema Siriwardane

Committee Member

Avinash Unnikrishnan


Steeply sloped, high relief landforms with fractured sedimentary geology in proximity to underground mine voids have the potential to produce far-field ground strains which initiate strain failure modes for cross valley dams. The Ryerson Station Dam breach in 2005 brought attention to the possibility of increased hazard to dams due to far-field ground strain phenomena from underground mining.;The mapping study found that three United States Army Corps of Engineers (U.S.ACE) owned and operated dams were within the 1-mile buffer radius, and four within the 2.7-mile buffer radius of mine permits in West Virginia. Some U.S.ACE dams can be very large in their length, changing the offset distances used herein significantly. There were zero U.S.ACE dams found to have any underground mine permit directly underneath their location. The total frequency of occurrence for U.S.ACE dams considered nearby to underground mine permits in WV was 17.4%.;There are many more dams considered in the National Inventory of Dams (NID) than U.S.ACE dams alone. The same buffer radii were chosen to assess the offset distances of NID dams to underground mine permits as were used for the U.S.ACE dam assessment. There were found to be 115 NID dams within the 2.7-mile buffer radius with 79 of those within 1 mile, and 45 directly undermined. The total frequency of occurrence for NID dams existing nearby to permitted underground mines was found to be 18.9%.