Assessment of Rock Mass Stability in the Historic Area of Levels IV-V of the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine

Journal title

Archives of Mining Sciences




No 1

Divisions of PAS

Nauki o Ziemi


<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>As a result, of more than 700 years of exploitation in the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a network of underground workings spreading over eleven levels was created. All mine workings of significant historic and natural qualities and the majority of functional mine workings designated to be preserved are located on levels I to V. The most precious of them, available to tourists, are located in the central part of the Mine on levels I-III. The Mine is not anticipating to make levels IV, Kołobrzeg and V available for a wider range of visitors, even though there are historically and naturally precious workings in those areas as well. The most valuable of the mine workings come from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and were exploited mainly in a bed of fore-shaft salt, Spiza salt and the oldest ones. The characteristic feature of these excavations, distinguish them from the chambers located on the levels I-III, is the room-and-pillar system that had been used there. Mine workings exploited in this system measure up to 100 metres in length, and the unsupported pillars standing between the chambers measuring 4-10 metres in width were remained. The described above levels, including levels of VI-IX are to provide a stable support for the workings located higher up. The remaining part of the mine, with the exception of the function workings, is designated for liquidation by backfilling.</jats:p><jats:p>The article presents an assessment of stability of the mine workings, located on levels IV-V, and their impact on the surrounding rock mass and the land surface. The analysis was based on geodetic measurements and numerical calculations for strain state of rock mass surrounding the mine workings, in actual conditions and after partial backfilling, and forecast of the rock stability factor after the end of backfilling. The assessment stability factor in the vicinity of excavations at levels IV-V was based on the results of spatial numerical analysis covering the entire central area of the mine from the surface to level V. Numerical calculations were performed using FLAC programme based on the finite difference method, allowing to observe the mechanisms and processes of destruction and deformation. The calculations were performed for the elastic-plastic medium with the Mohr-Coulomb failure criterium. The choice of this computational model was dictated by a very diverse geological structure of the Wieliczka rock mass and a complex system of excavations.</jats:p>


Committee of Mining PAS




ISSN 0860-7001