Public Release: 

Penn State receives funds to investigate mine voids

Penn State

In the wake of the Quecreek Mine rescue, the U.S. Congress appropriated $10 million for mine mapping and void detection research. Researchers in Penn State's Department of Energy & Geo-Environmental Engineering recently received $759,838 to investigate detection of mine voids.

The project, headed by Dr. Maochen Ge, associate professor of mining engineering and principle investigator, is titled "In-Seam Seismic Method Based Mine Void Detection Technique." The researchers will conduct seismic investigations at a number of mines - primarily the coal mines in Pennsylvania.

Man-made seismic signals from small blasts passing through the mine walls and being reflected back will allow the Penn State engineers to locate and record voids near existing coal mine tunnels. The Quecreek flooding occurred because a previously undetected, water-filled void existed very near the active mining tunnel. Locating voids goes hand in hand with the state of Pennsylvania effort to map existing underground mine tunnels, which was also funded by this initiative.

The Penn State researchers on this project include Ge; Dr. Andrew Schissler, co-principle investigator and assistant professor of mining engineering; Dr. H. Reginald Hardy Jr., emeritus professor of mining engineering; Dr. Raja Ramani, emeritus professor of mining engineering and geo-environmental engineering; Dr. Mark Radomsky, director, Field Services, Miner Training Program; and Hongliang Wang and Jin Wang, graduate students in mining engineering.


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