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Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305

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Support design of underground openings in an asphaltite mine

C.A. Ozturk ⇑
Istanbul Technical University, Mining Engineering Department, ITU Maden Fakultesi, Maden Muhendisliği Bolumu, 34469 Maslak, Istanbul, Turkey

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: A detailed study to design support systems for underground openings was carried out in this paper.
Received 12 December 2012 Asphaltite, an energy source for thermal power plants, will be produced from the Uckardesler Asphaltite
Received in revised form 6 May 2013 Vein in southwestern Turkey. This mine will be the first application of underground asphaltite production
Accepted 1 July 2013
in the world. Two main geological formations, the Gercus formation and the Midyat formation, form the
Available online 31 July 2013
geological structure of the study area. The Gercus formation is conglomerate, sandstone, mudstone, clay,
detritus, such as jibs, and the asphaltite vein located in the formation. The Midyat formation is mostly
limestone. The cut and fill stoping method was selected for this mine in accordance with the geometry
Numerical methods
of the vein, topographic specifications, and expected annual production rates. Asphaltite will be
Support design excavated from the underground mine by continuous miners. The shapes and sizes of underground
Underground mining opening, which will include incline and ramp galleries, shafts, crosscut (X/C) galleries, main level galler-
ies, and production galleries, were designed based on production method and rate. Rock mass classifica-
tion systems and the finite element numerical method were applied to design support systems for the
proposed underground openings. In this study, the engineering properties of rock masses were defined
from field and laboratory studies for each formation and for asphaltite. Support systems for each under-
ground opening were designed based on the suggestions of the rock mass rating (RMR) system and the Q
system of rock mass classification. The suggested support systems were subjected to numerical analysis
in order to evaluate their predicted performance. The results of the numerical modeling were analyzed to
select the proper support system for each underground opening.
Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction geological formations, the design of the underground mine, and

the chosen underground mining method. In this study, support
Asphaltite is an important raw material for the production of system designs were proposed based on rock mass classification
energy in thermal power plants because of its high-calorie struc- systems, and the suitability of the proposed support elements
ture. Asphaltite is produced from open pit mining in Turkey and was evaluated by the finite element numerical method. As the first
other parts of the world. Southwestern Turkey has a large deposit study to propose support systems for underground mine openings
of asphaltite called the Uckardesler Asphaltite Vein, which is lo- driven in asphaltite, this study will be of significant importance in
cated in a mountainous region called Silopi, in Turkey’s Sirnak the design of underground asphaltite mines in the future.
Province (Fig. 1). The Uckardesler asphaltite mine is projected as
a combination of open pit and underground mines due to the
topographical diversity of the deposit location. The underground
mine will be the first application of the underground mining meth- 2. Geology
od for the production of asphaltite in the world. It is expected that
there will be more examples of the production of asphaltite from The Gercus and Midyat formations, which are younger than
underground mines in the near future. The main objective of this Upper Cretaceous age, are the important geological formations in
paper is to design the required support systems for the openings the study area. The Gercus formation consists of levels of
of underground mines in this location based on rock mass classifi- sandstone, siltstone, mudstone, clay, and dolomitic limestone
cations and numerical methods. The design of support systems for deposited under continental and lagoonal conditions. Previous
underground mine openings must take into account the geology of research defined the age of the formation as Paleocene–Lower
the study area, including the geotechnical properties of the local Eocene. The thickness of the formation is estimated to be
600–700 m. Mudstone and clay comprise the majority of the levels
in the upper part of the formation. Bedded mudstones and clays are
⇑ Tel.: +90 212 285 6356; fax: +90 212 285 6131. not clear. The sandstones forming the Gercus formation are med-
E-mail address: ium- to fine-grained and show good layering. Tight clay–carbonate

0886-7798/$ - see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305 289

Fig. 1. Location map of the study area.

cemented sandstone, which is very rare in micro-conglomerates, 3. Engineering properties of rock masses
often shows a vertical–horizontal transition to siltstone.
The Gercus–Midyat border, which is located in the south, dis- The engineering properties of the Gercus and Midyat forma-
plays different characteristics as a result of abrasion processes. tions and the asphaltite vein were investigated based on rock mass
The Midyat formation includes off-white, beige, and beige-gray classifications from field and laboratory studies. The rock mass rat-
medium-hard to hard limestone that forms an east–west ridge in ing (RMR) system proposed by Bieniawski (1989) and the Q-sys-
the southern part of study area. The age of this formation was tem developed by the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (Barton
determined to be Lutetian. The Midyat formation gradually et al., 1974) were used to classify rock masses.
overlays the Gercus formation and has a possible thickness of Rock mass consists of rock material and discontinuities. Rock
400–450 m. The lower part of the formation is, depending upon material, also called intact rock, is the smallest particle of the rock
location, a brecciated karst structure or an intermediate- to thin- mass, and it is assumed to be homogeneous and isotropic. Rock
bedded chalky limestone. While this part of the formation is ob- material properties can be determined in the laboratory while dis-
served mostly from 0.25 to 0.50 m, in well-bedded regions, it can continuities are observed and classified during in situ studies. The
reach a thickness of 0.80–1.00 m. The layers of the Midyat and Ger- results of laboratory and field studies carried out in this study are
cus formations have mostly inverted position and near-vertical presented in this section.
slope. The direction of stratification is N 70–80 W. Approaching
the thrust line on the western side of the project area, inversion
of the layers increases dramatically. To the west of the Uckardesler
3.1. Rock material properties
Asphaltite Vein, inverted layers of the Midyat and Gercus
formations have 35–50° dip angles northeastward. To the east,
Two boreholes were drilled in this study to obtain required core
the inversion increases and dip angles reach 70–85°. Beyond the
samples for the determination of the mechanical and physical
east end of the Uckardesler Asphaltite Vein, layers have vertical
properties of the rock materials. One of these boreholes was verti-
and approximately vertical position (Nasuf et al., 2012). A geolog-
cal with a length of 455.60 m. This borehole was used to obtain
ical cross section is given in Fig. 2 to show the asphaltite ore body
core samples from the asphaltite vein and to justify asphaltite re-
and the surrounding geological formations in the study area.
serve calculations made from previous boreholes. The second bore-

Fig. 2. Geological cross section of the study area.

290 C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305

Table 1
Mechanical and physical properties of rock materials (Nasuf et al., 2012).

Rock mass Material rc (MPa) Is (MPa) Em (MPa) C (MPa) U (°) c (kN/m3)

Gercus formation Gray and green sandstone containing few clay and silt 25.26 1.07 4743.35 4.70 51.10 23.90
Red–brown clay stone and sandstone containing sand and silt 22.97 1.05 3529.10 5.50 45.00 25.00
Red–brown clay stone containing silt and filled with gypsum 18.55 0.92 3781.20 n/a n/a 17.25
Used for support design 18.55 0.92 3529.10 5.50 45.00 17.25
Midyat formation Limestone 139.90 6.80 31,200 40.00 44.00 24.22
Uckardesler asphaltite vein Asphaltite 17.82 0.54 599.84 4.40 37.6 14.10

hole, which was inclined with a length of 435.70 m, was used to Ratings for each parameter used in RMR can be determined
obtain core samples from the Gercus and Midyat formations. from the classification proposed by Bieniawski (1989), and the
Rock material samples for the Gercus formation, which are RMR value of a rock mass is the sum of these ratings. Joint orienta-
mostly sandstone containing clay and silt, claystone containing tion is the sixth factor in the RMR system, but it is not used in this
sand and silt, and claystone containing silt and gypsum, were ob- study because of the nature of the proposed underground mining
tained from different depths of the borehole, and a repetitive series activities. Although the relation between discontinuities and pro-
of mechanical tests was carried out in the laboratory. Mechanical posed openings can affect the favorability of an opening, this factor
and physical properties of the samples, including uniaxial com- could not be assessed at this stage because of variability in the
pressive strength (rc), young modulus (Em), point load index (Is), direction of underground galleries.
Brazilian tensile strength (rt), cohesion (c), internal friction angle The Q value for a rock mass can be calculated by the equation
(u), and unit volume weight (c), were determined as average val- given below, as determined in the classification proposed by Bar-
ues of repetitive test results. Limestone core samples for the Mid- ton et al. (1974).
yat formation were also obtained from different levels of the
boreholes, and the samples were subjected to the same tests to RQD J r J
Q¼   w : ð1Þ
determine the mechanical and physical properties of the rock Jn J a SRF
material. Similarly, asphaltite core samples from depths of
100 m, 200 m, 300 m, and 400 m were obtained from the vertical
The results of this study, which are presented as a summary of
borehole and subjected to rock mechanical tests. The average val-
field and laboratory observations and measurements, are shown in
ues of the mechanical and physical properties of the asphaltite
Table 2 for the RMR system and Table 3 for the Q system.
were determined. The results of laboratory studies for the study
area are given in Table 1. The values for the Gercus formation are
scattered widely while the values for Midyat formation are quite 4. Underground mine design
high, as shown in Table 1. The results are consistent with the study
of Karpuz et al. (1986), which investigated the excavatability of The length of the Uckardesler Asphaltite Vein is 1265 m, and the
rock mass structures in the same study area. width of the vein fluctuates between 2 m and 75 m. The vein is in-
clined 800–870 from south to north. A solid model of the ore body
was constructed from 48 drill logs, and the proven asphaltite re-
3.2. Quantification of rock masses serve was calculated to be approximately 22.5 million tons, while
the total asphaltite reserve, which included the probable asphaltite
Rock mass characterizations were completed using observa- reserve, was calculated to be approximately 40 million tons. Addi-
tions and measurements made at the site and rock quality designa- tionally, chemical analyses of asphaltite samples from different
tion (RQD) and discontinuity data determined from borehole logs. depths indicated that the calorific value of the asphaltite is around
RMR and Q system classifications were applied to characterize the 5500 kcal/kg, which makes the asphaltite in this vein a good en-
rock mass. Uniaxial compressive strength, RQD, discontinuity spac- ergy source.
ing, discontinuity conditions, groundwater conditions for RMR and Approximately 5.5 million tons of asphaltite will be produced
RQD, number of joint sets (Jn), joint surface roughness (Jr), joint from the open pit mine, while 14.5 million tons of asphaltite will
weathering and alteration (Ja), joint water reduction factor (Jw), be produced from the underground mine. The rest of the reserve
and stress reduction factor (SRF) for Q were the parameters used will remain as a pillar between the open pit and underground
to quantify rock mass. mines. The underground mine will be active for nearly 20 years

Table 2
Rock mass classifications based on the RMR system (Nasuf et al., 2012).

Parameters Gercus formation Midyat formation Asphaltite

Value Rating Value Rating Value Rating
rc, MPa 18.55 2 139.90 12 17.82 2
RQD (%) 30 8 80 17 95 20
Spacing <60 mm 5 ±1.70 m 12 >2 m 20
Persistence 1–3 m 4 <1 m 6 3–10 m 2
Aperture >5 mm 0 0.1–1.0 mm 4 <0.1 mm 5
Roughness Slightly rough 3 Rough 5 Slightly rough 3
Infilling >5 mm soft filling 0 <5 mm 4 None 6
Weathering Highly weathered 1 Slightly weathered 5 Unweathered 6
Groundwater 25–125 lt/dk 4 <25 lt/dk 7 <25 lt/dk 7
Total RMR 27 72 71
C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305 291

Table 3
Rock mass classifications based on the Q system (Nasuf et al., 2012).

Parameters Gercus formation Midyat formation Asphaltite

Description Score Description Score Description Score
RQD 25–50 30.00 75–90 80.00 90–100 95.00
Jn Three joint sets plus random 12.00 One joint set plus random 3.00 Massive, no or few joints 0.75
Jr Rough or irregular, planar 1.50 Rough and irregular, undulating 3.00 Smooth planar 1.00
Ja Disintegrated or crushed rock and clay band 8.00 Silty and sandy clay coatings, small clay 3.00 Unaltered joint walls, surface 1.00
zone fraction staining only
Jw Large inflow or high pressure, considerable 0.33 Dry excavation or minor inflow 1.00 Dry excavation or minor 1.00
outwash of joint fillings inflow
SRF Medium stress 1.00 Single weakness zones containing clay or 2.50 rc/r1 ffi 1.40 < 2.50 (heavy 10.00
chemical disintegrated rock rock burst)
Q value 0.15 10.67 12.67

based on the proven reserve. Yearly production of asphaltite will the dimensions of the development and exploitation openings are
be 425,000 tons/year for the first 5 years, and 850,000 tons/year designed based on the continuous miner working principles.
for the remaining 15 years. This asphaltite will be used to support Underground openings were designed based on the under-
a 1  135 MW thermal power plant for the first 5 years and a ground mining method and the geometry of the asphaltite vein.
2  135 MW thermal power plant for the remaining 15 years. Within the underground mine, there will be 6 different under-
Considering the geometry of the asphaltite vein, the ground structures for the production of asphaltite: incline, spiral
topographic specifications of the project area, and expected annual ramp, shafts, X/C galleries, main and sublevel galleries, and pro-
production rates, the cut and fill stoping mining method was se- duction galleries. The geometries of these openings were designed
lected as the underground mining method. Cut and fill stoping is based on daily production rate, number of labors requirements,
applicable for steeply dipping vein deposits, as well as large and machinery and equipment requirements, and ventilation require-
irregularly shaped deposits (Hartman, 1992). This production ments. A layout of the underground mine design is shown in Fig. 4.
method was selected for the Uckardesler Asphaltite Vein because
it is an irregularly shaped and steeply dipping asphaltite vein. This
type of vein requires selectivity during excavation to protect the 4.1. Development works
galleries against the effect of caving as work is completed on
different levels, to prevent the above open pit area against subsi- Incline, ramp, and shafts will be constructed as development
dence, to protect the environment by backfilling the mine tailings, works of the mine and used to reach the production levels for
and to safely ventilate the mine. A sketch of a typical cut and fill the exploitation of asphaltite. Incline will be used for transporta-
stoping underground mine is shown in Fig. 3. tion of labor and materials through a funicular system, transporta-
The production of asphaltite will be carried out in horizontal tion of excavated ore via belt conveyor, and discharge of used air.
slices from the lower levels of the mine to the upper levels of the Ramp, which connect to incline and X/C galleries, are used for
mine, and the openings will be filled with material from excavation transportation of labor, material, and excavated asphaltite and
during construction and from outsources such as quarries. The fill- for discharge of used air to incline. Shafts, called east and west
ing material, which is proposed to be a cemented aggregate fill shafts, were designed as per the ventilation requirements of the
material, should have a compressive strength of at least 5 MPa be- underground mine. All of these structures will be excavated in
cause the fill serves not only to support the stope walls but also the Midyat formation due to its high strength as a construction
used to provide a working platform for the next level. On the other material and the stability requirements for the structures, which
hand, the excavation of asphaltite apart from the conventional cut are intended to serve for the life of the mine.
and fill stoping production is carried out by continuous miners, and
4.2. Exploitation works

X/C galleries, main and sublevel galleries, and production gal-

leries are the structures used for the exploitation of asphaltite.
The design of these underground openings took into account the
daily production rate and the excavation method. Excavation of
asphaltite will be carried out by continuous miners, and haulage
of asphaltite will be carried out by shuttle cars. Dimensions of
the production galleries, which will be driven in asphaltite, were
determined by the dimensions of the required excavation machin-
ery. Main and sublevel galleries, which will also be driven in
asphaltite, will be used to haul excavated ore from production gal-
leries to X/C galleries. X/C galleries, also called crosscuts, are the
horizontal galleries driven to intersect the ore body. X/C galleries,
driven from ramp to main and sublevel galleries, will be used for
transportation of the excavated asphaltite from main and sublevel
galleries to incline by underground trucks. X/C galleries will be dri-
ven in the Midyat and Gercus formations. Details of the openings
are summarized in Table 4, and the shapes of the openings are pre-
Fig. 3. A sketch of cut and fill stoping (Smith, 2008). sented in Fig. 5.
292 C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305

Fig. 4. Underground mine project.

Table 4
Details of underground openings. rv ¼ c  Z: ð2Þ
Underground structure Shape of Formation Area Total Tangential stresses around the roof and walls of the openings
geometry (m2) length
were calculated from the below equations, as proposed by Hoek
and Brown (1980). The constants A and B are taken as 3.2 and
Incline Horse Midyat 22.31 1536
2.3 for a horseshoe-shaped gallery, 3.0 and 3.0 for a shaft, and
Ramp Horse Midyat 22.31 2580 1.8 and 3.9 for a rectangular gallery (Hoek and Brown, 1980). For
Shoe the calculation of tangential stresses, hydrostatic loading condi-
Shaft Circle Midyat 7.07 1100 tions were assumed based on the depth of the opening
X/C gallery Rectangle Gercus 12.00 59,511 (H > 500 m), and k, the ratio of horizontal stress to vertical stress,
was taken as 1.0. It should also be noted that these equations
Main/sublevel gallery Rectangle Asphaltite 17.50 103,056 can be used for the opening circumference because the equations
Production galleries Rectangle Asphaltite 10.00 835,863 are derived from the Kirsch solution and applied for elastic media.
Vertical in situ stresses and tangential stresses calculated for the
openings within each geological formation are shown in Table 5.
5. Design of support systems
rhw ¼ rv ðAk  1Þ; ð3Þ
Design studies for the required underground openings have
been carried out considering in situ stress, stress around the open- rhr ¼ rv ðB  kÞ: ð4Þ
ings, evaluation of rock burst, and squeezing conditions. RMR and
Q-system classifications were employed as empirical methods to
5.2. Rock mass strength
select the required support systems for the openings. The results
obtained from these studies were combined, and a support system
Rock mass strength (rcmass), which is derived from the mechan-
was designed for each opening. Numerical analysis was used to
ical properties of intact rock and the features of discontinuities, can
evaluate the success of the proposed support systems using Phase2
be used to evaluate the support system requirements for an under-
software. A layout of steps applied in this study to propose an ade-
ground opening. Rock mass strength is a combination of parame-
quate support system for each opening is shown in Fig. 6.
ters, such as RMR, Q, rc, and c. Different researchers have used
The studies to design the underground openings for the mine
different approaches to calculate rcmass, as summarized by Rasouli
were carried out under the assumption of a virgin stress field. This
(2009). The results of these approaches should be evaluated to
assumption is valid only for the very first steps of the mining pro-
determine whether intact rock material strength is higher than
cess. As the mine continues its operation, the interrelation of
rcmass. The following equations were computed to calculate rcmass
adjusting structures, changes in the material properties, and other
in this study:
factors will result in changes in the structural performance of the
mine. This means that the design studies for underground mining rc
rcmass ¼ 7  c  Q 1=3 ; Q > 10:0 ð5Þ
have two different stages: a pre-production stage and a production 100
stage, during which more data must be collected from the site. for hard rock from Bhasin and Grimstad (1996),

rcmass ¼ 7  c  Q 1=3 ; Q < 10:0 ð6Þ

5.1. In situ and tangential stresses
from Singh et al. (1997),
The height of overburden ranges from 50 m to 750 m for differ-
rcmass ¼ 0:5e0:06RMR ; ð7Þ
ent production levels. In situ stresses were calculated analytically
from Eq. (2) for different levels within each geological formation. from Trueman (1998),
C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305 293

Fig. 5. Geometries and sizes of underground openings.

Fig. 6. Support design procedure applied in this study.

 rc 1=3 rock material strength and tangential stress around the openings.
rcmass ¼ 5  c Q ; ð8Þ
100 A high value for tangential stresses is a good indicator for rock
from Barton (2000). burst, which must be prevented by precautions, such as the instal-
The results of these applications are given in Table 6. lation of supports. Additionally, rock mass strength can be a useful
tool to predict the rock burst trend for an opening during excava-
5.3. Evaluation of rock burst and squeezing potential tion. Palmstrom (1996) classified rock burst activity based on stud-
ies proposed by Russenes (1974), Hoek and Brown (1980), and
Rock burst phenomena for underground openings should be Grimstad and Barton (1993), as shown in Table 7.
investigated to understand the support system requirements. Gen- In Table 8, previously calculated values for the strength of the
erally, rock burst can be defined by the relation between intact intact rock or rock mass and for tangential stresses around the
294 C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305

Table 5
In situ and tangential stresses.

H rv (MPa) rbw (MPa) rbr (MPa)

Midyat Gercus Asphaltite Incline Shaft X/C in X/C in Asphaltite Incline X/C in X/C in Asphaltite
ramp (rbw = rbr) Midyat Gercus galleries ramp Midyat Gercus galleries
150 3.63 2.59 2.12 7.99 7.27 2.91 2.07 1.69 4.72 10.54 7.50 6.14
300 7.27 5.18 4.23 15.99 14.53 5.81 4.14 3.39 9.45 21.07 15.01 12.28
450 10.90 7.76 6.35 23.98 21.80 8.72 6.21 5.08 14.17 31.61 22.51 18.41
600 14.53 10.35 8.47 31.97 29.06 11.63 8.28 6.77 18.89 42.14 30.02 24.55
750 18.17 12.94 10.58 39.96 36.33 14.53 10.35 8.47 23.61 52.68 37.52 30.69

strength. Squeezing potential was investigated in this study for

Table 6 openings driven in the Gercus formation and in asphaltite, for
Rock mass strength for the study area’s geological formations. which the compressive strengths of the rock materials are
Equation Rock mass strength (MPa) Remark 18.55 MPa and 17.82 MPa, respectively. Several approaches were
Midyat Gercus Asphaltite
used to determine potential squeezing trends for openings in the
Gercus formation and in asphaltite.
Eq. (5) 52.22 n/a 4.10 For Q > 10.0
Eq. (6) n/a 6.42 n/a For Q < 10.0
Jethwa et al. (1984) proposed Nc for the degree of squeezing as
Eq. (7) 37.59 2.53 35.40 Asphaltite value is omitted due given in Eq. (9). Critical depth for an underground opening (H) is
to its higher value than rc defined by Singh et al. (1992) in Eq. (10). Goel et al. (1995) also
Eq. (8) 29.82 2.61 9.26 proposed an approach, shown in Eq. (11), to obtain the critical
Average 39.88 3.85 6.68 Asphaltite avg. RM strength depth for squeezing. Palmstrom (1996) defined classes of squeez-
derived from Eqs. (5) and (8) ing potential, ranging from no squeezing to very heavy squeezing,
based on the relation between RMi and tangential stress. ISRM sug-
gests obtaining the ratio of tangential stress to rock mass strength
openings were used to characterize the possible rock burst activity (Sg, Eq. (12)) as reported by Rasouli (2009). The classification sys-
in the underground openings. tem for squeezing behavior shown in Table 9 was prepared by
The results show that there will be minor rock spalling below a Rasouli (2009) based on studies from ISRM, Barla (1995), and
375 m depth and slight loosening activity in high stress conditions Palmstrom (1996) and can be used to determine squeezing
below a 530 m depth for incline and ramp. Severe or moderate rock potential.
spalling will occur below a 650 m depth in high stress conditions
for X/C galleries driven in the Midyat formation. X/C galleries dri- rcm
Nc ¼ ; ð9Þ
ven in the Gercus formation will have a high risk of rock burst cH
activity, from low rock spalling to heavy rock burst, based on the
results. Below a 125 m depth, high stress conditions will be ex- H ¼ 350Q 1=3 ; ð10Þ
pected, and below a 250 m depth, severe or heavy rock burst will
occur, necessitating a heavy support requirement. The results of H ¼ 275Q 1=3 B0:1 ; ð11Þ
the investigation show the importance of both designing adequate
support systems and limiting the time that spans remain unsup-
ported. Rock burst activity for production and level galleries driven Sg ¼ : ð12Þ
in asphaltite is classified from low to heavy rock burst according to
the depth of the opening. Up to a 100 m depth, low rock spalling is Calculations to estimate squeezing behavior of underground
expected, between a 100 m and a 200 m depth, moderate rock openings driven in the Gercus formation and in asphaltite in this
spalling is expected, and between a 200 m and a 750 m depth, se- study were carried out based on the aforementioned approaches,
vere rock burst activity is expected during the excavation of these and the results are given in Tables 10 and 11.
openings. The results indicate the squeezing potential for different types
Squeezing potential around a tunnel face must also be investi- of openings in the Gercus formation and in asphaltite. X/C galleries
gated, especially in underground openings driven in weak rock. Ay- driven in the Gercus formation have mild squeezing potential up to
dan et al. (1993) summarized squeezing potential in rock masses a 175 m depth, moderate squeezing potential up to a 350 m depth,
consisting of rock material that has less than 20 MPa compressive and high squeezing potential between a 350 m and a 750 m depth.

Table 7
Rock burst activity classifications.

Value of the ratio rc/rb Description

Russenes Hoek and Brown Grimstad and Barton Palmstrom
(1974) (1980) (1993) (1996)
>100 Near surface, low stress, open joints
>4 >7 100–3 >2.5 No rock spalling/stable/Medium, favorable stress condition/No rock stress induced
4–3 7–3 3–2 2.5–1 Low rock spalling/minor spalling/High stress, very tight structure/High stress,
slightly loosening
3–1.5 3–1.7 2–1.5 1–0.5 Moderate rock spalling/severe spalling/Moderate slabbing after 1 h/light rock
burst or spalling
<1.5 1.7–1.4 1.5–1 <0.5 High rock spalling/heavy support required/slabbing and rock burst/heavy rock
<1.4 <1 Heavy rock burst/severe rock burst
C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305 295

Table 8
Rock burst activity estimations for the openings.

Opening Depth of opening Value of the ratio rc/rb Rock burst class
Russenes Hoek and Brown Grimstad and Barton Palmstrom
(1974)a (1980) (1993) (1996)b
Incline and ramp 640–750 3.99–3.40 Low rock spalling
375–750 7.00–3.50 Minor spalling
750, Hmax 3.50 Medium stress
530–750 2.48–1.75 Slightly loosening
X/C Gallery in Midyat 485–645 3.98–3.00 Low rock spalling
645–750 3.00–2.66 Moderate rock
280–665 7.00–3.00 Minor spalling
665–750 3.00–2.58 Severe spalling
20–665 100–3.00 Medium stress
665–750 3.00–2.65 High stress
395–750 2.50–1.33 Slightly loosening
X/C Gallery in Gercus 90–120 4.08–3.05 Low rock spalling
120–245 3.05–1.50 Moderate rock
245–750 1.50–0.50 High rock spalling
53–125 7.00–2.97 Minor spalling
125–215 2.97–1.72 Severe spalling
215–265 1.72–1.40 Heavy support
265–750 1.40–0.49 Heavy rock burst
125–185 2.97–2.00 High stress
185–250 2.00–1.50 Moderate slabbing
250–370 1.50–1.00 Slabbing and rock
370–750 1.00–0.49 Severe rock burst
75–185 2.47–1.00 High stress
185–370 1.00–0.50 Light rock burst
370–750 0.50–0.25 Heavy rock burst
Production and Level Galleries in 66–88 4.00–3.00 Low rock spalling
88–175 3.00–1.50 Moderate rock
175–750 1.50–0.35 High rock spalling
62–145 7.02–3.00 Minor spalling
145–255 3.00–1.71 Severe spalling
255–311 1.71–1.40 Heavy support
311–750 1.40–0.58 Heavy rock burst
145–215 3.00–2.02 High stress
215–290 2.02–1.50 Moderate slabbing
290–435 1.50–1.00 Slabbing and rock
435–750 1.00–0.58 Severe rock burst
87–215 2.50–1.01 High stress
215–435 1.01–0.50 Light rock burst
435–750 0.50–0.29 Heavy rock burst
rc Values were calculated from point load strength (Is) as per Is  20 correlation.
RMi values were calculated as per 0.5  rc correlation.

Mild squeezing behavior is also expected during the excavation of port systems of individual openings were designed according to
production and main level galleries driven in asphaltite for depths the surrounding rock mass. The results are presented below.
from 175 m to 325 m. Squeezing potential for these openings be-
tween a 325 m depth and a 435 m depth is moderate. Below a 5.4.1. Support design from the RMR system
435 m depth, the openings will be affected by high or very heavy The chart proposed by Bieniawski (1989), which includes rec-
squeezing potential. These results, combined with the results of ommendations for unsupported span time, support requirements,
rock burst activity investigations, indicate that adequate support and a classification table for support units, was used to determine
systems must be installed in a timely fashion in order to avoid the required support system for each opening. Potential support
any squeezing activity for the planned openings in the Gercus for- units for an underground opening could include rock bolts, shot-
mation and in asphaltite. crete, and steel sets, depending on the surrounding geological for-
mation. The graph given in Fig. 7 shows the relation between roof
span and RMR for the proposed openings. The values for roof span
5.4. Empirical methods for support design were taken from Fig. 5 and matched with appropriate RMR values.
The results of this investigation show that X/C galleries driven in
Studies evaluating the strength and classification of rock masses the Gercus formation require more support units than other
were used to guide the design of support systems for underground planned openings and that the supports must be installed within
openings based on the RMR and Q system classifications. The sup- 10 h after excavation. Incline and ramp driven in the Midyat for-
296 C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305

Table 9
Squeezing potential classifications.

rb/rcmass rcm/(cH) Jethwa rcm/(cH) RMi/rb Squeezing class Definition

ISRM et al. Barla Palmstrom
<1.0 >2.0 >1.0 >1.0 No squeezing Tunnel will be stable
1.0–2.0 0.8–2.0 0.4–1.0 0.7–1.0 Mildly/light Tunnel will be stable, displacements will converge
2.0–4.0 0.4–0.8 0.2–0.4 0.5–0.7 Moderately squeezing Displacement will be larger, however, it will converge
>4.0 <0.4 <0.2 0.35–0.5 Highly/heavy Displacement will be large and will not tend to converge
<0.35 Very heavy squeezing The rock flows, displacement will be very large, install heavy

Table 10
Critical working depth for squeezing potential for the openings.

Geological formation Critical depth for squeezing (m) From Definition

Gercus formation 185.96 Singh et al. (1992) High squeezing potential will be expected for X/C galleries driven in Gercus formation
167.80 Goel et al. (1995)
Asphaltite 815.94 Singh et al. (1992) No squeezing will be expected for production and level galleries in asphaltite
1587.00 Goel et al. (1995)

Table 11
Squeezing potential estimations for the openings.

Opening Depth of opening (m) rb/rcmass rcm/(cH) Jethwa et al. rcm/(cH) RMia/rb Squeezing
ISRM Barla Palmstrom class
X/C Galleries in Gercus formation 77–155 1.01–2.01 Mild
155–310 2.01–4.02 Moderate
310–750 4.02–9.75 High
110–280 2.03–0.80 Mild
280–560 0.80–0.40 Moderate
530–750 0.40–0.30 High
220–560 1.01–0.40 Mild
560–750 0.40–0.30 Moderate
185–265 1.00–0.70 Mild
265–370 0.70–0.50 Moderate
370–530 0.50–0.35 Heavy
530–750 0.35–0.25 Very heavy
Level and production galleries in asphaltite 165–325 1.01–1.99 Mild
325–655 1.99–4.01 Moderate
655–750 4.01–4.59 High
235–590 2.01–0.80 Mild
590–750 0.80–0.63 Moderate
470–750 1.01–0.63 Mild
220–310 0.99–0.70 Mild
310–435 0.70–0.50 Moderate
435–620 0.50–0.35 Heavy
620–750 0.35–0.29 Very heavy
RMi values are calculated by RMi = 0.5rc based on the study of Palmstrom (1996).

mation also need support systems, although installation time for Span or HeightðmÞ
De ¼ : ð13Þ
these support systems is quite flexible. Shafts and X/C galleries dri- ESR
ven in the Midyat formation and openings driven in asphaltite do ESR values are taken as 1.60 for permanent incline, ramp, and
not require any support system according to these results. Addi- shafts that are expected to serve for the whole production life of
tionally, the RMR-based support system guidelines proposed by the mine. The ESR value is 2.0 for temporary openings, which in-
Bieniawski (1989) were also applied to the design of supports. clude X/C galleries and main and sublevel galleries; however, the
According to these guidelines, the Midyat formation, the Gercus ESR value is taken as 2.50 for production galleries due to their lim-
formation, and asphaltite were classified as good rock, poor rock, ited time for production. The appropriate value of span or height
and good rock, respectively. Suggestions for the amount of support can be easily found for square and circular openings, and it can
units, including rock bolts, shotcrete, and steel sets, were based on be taken as the longest line of the opening for rectangular galleries,
this classification. The results are shown in Table 12. including X/C, main or sublevel, and production galleries. Hence, it
is possible to make a safe design by using the worst possible con-
5.4.2. Support design from Q ditions for each underground opening. ESR and Dé values for the
The excavation support ratio (ESR) is determined from the clas- proposed openings are given in Table 13.
sification proposed by Barton et al. (1974), while the equivalent Support categories for underground openings can be deter-
dimension (Dé) is calculated from the following equation: mined by plotting Dé against Q on a chart that was proposed by
C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305 297

Table 13
ESR and Dé values for the openings.

Underground structure Height (m) Type of opening ESR Dé

Incline 5.00 Permanent 1.60 3.125
Ramp 5.00 Permanent 1.60 3.125
Shaft 3.00 Permanent 1.60 1.875
X/C gallery 4.00 Temporary 2.00 2.000
Main/sublevel gallery 7.00 Temporary 2.00 3.500
Production galleries 4.00 Temporary 2.50 2.000

5.5. Numerical methods for evaluation of support design

The suitability of the proposed support systems was investi-

gated by numerical methods. Phase2 v.8 software was used to sim-
ulate the possible behavior of underground openings with and
without support systems. Stresses, deformations, and strength fac-
tors (SFs) were determined from numerical analyses of the open-
Fig. 7. Support requirement and unsupported span time determination based on
the RMR. ings. The software used in this study models the above
parameters in two dimensions based on non-linear deformations.
The boundary conditions were fixed at zero, the outer model of
the boundary was set at a distance 6 times as long as the opening’s
Barton et al. (1974), revised by Grimstad and Barton (1993), and height, and the mesh system was used for finite elements. Deforma-
reproduced by Palmstrom and Broch (2006). In this study, this tions and stresses were derived from elasto-plastic analyses using
chart was applied to the proposed openings in each geological for- automatic mesh around the openings. In order to simulate the most
mation (Fig. 8). critical situations, the depth of the openings was selected as the
Several of the proposed openings, including incline, ramp, maximum depth, that is, 750 m, for the definition of initial stress
shafts, and X/C galleries in the Midyat formation and galleries in conditions prior to excavation. In situ stresses were defined by a
asphaltite, were classified into support category 1, indicating no gravity field stress option that varies with depth. The ratio of hori-
requirement for support. In contrast, X/C galleries in the Gercus zontal stress to vertical stress was taken as 1.0 due to the depth of
formation were classified into support category 5, indicating a the openings and the hydrostatic stress conditions. Input parame-
requirement for fiber-reinforced concrete and bolting. ters to simulate the rock mass environment were obtained from
The results obtained from the rock burst and squeezing poten- the results of the geotechnical studies reported above. Specified
tial investigations and the empirical method solutions were com- support system units derived from the numerical models are shown
bined to guide the design of required support systems. Briefly, in Table 15. Numerical analyses were completed for supported and
incline, ramp, and shafts should be supported to protect the open- unsupported conditions for each individual opening. Stress (r1), to-
ings against rock spalling due to their crucial importance as perma- tal displacement, and SF were the parameters obtained from several
nent mine structures. Shotcrete and bolting will be used as support iterations of modeling studies. SF, which is calculated by dividing
units for incline and ramp, while only shotcrete will be applied as a the rock strength by the induced stress, was used to evaluate the
support unit for shafts. Support systems for X/C galleries in the suitability of the proposed support design. A high SF value indicates
Midyat formation should also include shotcrete to protect the an adequate support system. The model results and recommended
openings against moderate or severe rock spalling. Steel sets, rock support systems for each opening are shown below.
bolts, wire mesh, and shotcrete should be used as support units for
X/C galleries in the Gercus formation to protect the openings 5.5.1. Openings in the Midyat formation
against collapse, which is expected based on the results of stability Although some of the investigations in this study indicated no
investigations. The proposed galleries in asphaltite are unprece- support system requirement for openings driven in the Midyat for-
dented. Shotcrete will be applied as a support unit in these open- mation, including incline, ramp, shafts, and X/C galleries, support
ings to protect the openings against the effects of severe or high systems will be applied to these openings due to their importance
rock burst activity and high squeezing potential. The required sup- for the project. These are permanent openings that are expected to
port systems are shown in Table 14. The applicability of the pro- experience heavy traffic, including human transportation, until the
posed support systems was evaluated by numerical methods to end of production. Rock bolts are recommended for the roof of in-
ensure proper support unit specifications and properties. cline and ramp to protect the openings against rock falling. Split

Table 12
Support types for the openings based on the RMR system.

Underground openings Formation Rock mass Support systems

Rock boltsa Shotcrete Steel sets
Incline and ramp and shaft and X/C Midyat II – Good Locally, bolts in crown 3 m long, 50 mm in crown None
gallery and galleries in formation and Rock RMR: spaced 2.5 m with occasional wire where required
asphaltite asphaltite 61–80 mesh
X/C gallery Gercus IV – Poor Systematic bolts 4–5 m long, spaced 100–150 mm in crown Light to medium ribs
formation Rock RMR: 1–1.5 m in crown and walls with wire and 100 mm in sides spaced 1.5 m where
21–40 mesh required
20 mm diameter, fully grouted).
298 C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305

Fig. 8. Support categories and designs based on the Q index.

Table 14
Support types and specifications for the openings.

Type of opening Formation Support systems

Rock bolt Shotcrete Wire mesh Steel set
Length Spacing thickness
Incline and ramp Midyat 2.50 2.00 n/r n/r n/r
Shaft Midyat n/r n/r 100 mm m1 n/r
X/C gallery Midyat n/r n/r 50 mm n/r n/r
X/C gallery Gercus 2.50 1.00 200 mm m1 m2
Galleries in asphaltite Asphaltite n/r n/r 50 mm n/r n/r

n/r: Not required, 1: wire mesh with diameter 6 mm thick and 10 cm aperture, 2: W250X44,8 steel profile.

sets should be used, and the length of the bolts should be 2.50 m Total displacement values are nearly the same for supported and
with bolt spacing of 2.0 m. The results in Fig. 9 show that the appli- unsupported conditions.
cation of rock bolts increases the value of SF and also increases the Due to the comparatively small excavation size of X/C galleries
safety of the openings. Total displacement values after support driven in the Midyat formation, only 5 cm thick shotcrete will be
installation decrease to nearly 30% of the displacement values in applied to the roof of these openings as a support element. Total
unsupported conditions. displacement values for the roof of these openings decreases to
Critical problems are not expected during and after the excava- 1.65 cm with the proposed support element from 1.8 cm in unsup-
tion of shafts as indicated by the results of the numerical analyses ported conditions. SF values are 1.58 for both conditions (Fig. 11).
shown in Fig. 10. The use of 10 cm thick shotcrete as a support ele- Shotcrete can be used to protect the openings against rock falls
ment in these openings increases the SF value from 1.26 to 1.58. during the service time.

Table 15
Suggested engineering properties of support units.

Rock bolt Shotcrete Wire mesh Steel arch

D 19 mm Em 30,000 MPa a 60 cm 60 cm
Em 200,000 MPa m 0.20 b 6 mm 0.267 m
Ft 0.1 MN rc 28 MPa I 6.362  1011 cm4 7.08  105 cm4
a 1.0 m rt 3 MPa Em 200,000 MPa 200,000 MPa
m 0.25 0.25
rc 400 MPa 400 MPa
rt 400 MPa 400 MPa

D: diameter, Em: Young’s (bolt) modulus, Ft: tensile capacity, a: spacing, m: Poisson’s ratio, rc: compressive strength, rt: tensile strength, b: thickness, I: moment of inertia.
C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305 299

5.5.2. Openings in the Gercus formation clude 20 cm thick shotcrete applied with wire mesh and steel ar-
X/C galleries are the only type of opening proposed in the Ger- ches. These openings are expected to face heavy collapse
cus formation. Empirical solutions, including squeezing potential problems under unsupported conditions based on the above
investigations, show that galleries driven in the Gercus formation numerical analysis (Fig. 12). Stress around the openings is too high
have the highest risk of collapse. The results suggest the use of (50 MPa), especially at the corners of the openings, and SF values
2.50 m long rock bolts applied with 1.0 m spacing for the roof are less than 1.0, which indicates unreliable conditions. The pro-
and walls of these openings. The support system should also in- posed support system increases SF values to more than 1.0, due

Unsupported Supported
Total Displacement
Strength Factor

Fig. 9. Numerical model results for incline and ramp in the Midyat formation.
300 C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305

to decreased stress and total deformations. The results suggest that is the only option to use as support system for these openings due
the proposed support system should be applied soon after excava- to the production method. The studies suggest that 5 cm thick
tion to protect the opening. shotcrete should be applied on the roof and walls for level galleries
and on the roof only for production galleries. Covering the open
5.5.3. Galleries in asphaltite asphaltite surfaces with shotcrete not only protects the openings
Main and sublevel galleries and production galleries are the from squeezing or rock falling, but also protects the openings
underground structures that will be driven in asphaltite. Shotcrete against gas leakage, which is an important ventilation concern.

Unsupported Supported
Total Displacement
Strength Factor

Fig. 10. Numerical model results for shaft in the Midyat formation.
C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305 301

Unsupported Supported
σ1Total Displacement
Strength Factor

Fig. 11. Numerical model results for X/C gallery in the Midyat formation.

The effects of shotcrete on SF values and total displacement values ings increase from 1.02 to 1.26 after shotcrete application. The
are shown in Figs. 13 and 14 for level and production galleries dri- aim of the application of shotcrete on the roof of production galler-
ven in asphaltite. ies is to protect the openings against squeezing potential and to
Total displacement values for the roof of level galleries decrease leave a level opening for filling application. SF values increase to
from 10.2 cm to 8.8 cm and SF values for the walls of these open- 1.22 from 1.10 after shotcrete application, as shown in Fig. 14.
302 C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305

Total Displacement
Strength Factor Unsupported Supported

Fig. 12. Numerical model results for X/C gallery in the Gercus formation.

6. Discussion and conclusion and size of the proposed opening. The Midyat and Gercus forma-
tions and the asphaltite vein were classified based on the RMR
This study is the first to propose underground production of and Q systems and based on data obtained from field and labora-
asphaltite. Recommended support systems for proposed openings tory studies. The analysis indicated that the Midyat formation is
were designed based on the engineering properties of geological classified as good rock, the Gercus formation is classified as poor
formations within the project area, including the asphaltite vein. rock, and the asphaltite vein is classified as good rock. Although
Support system requirements were determined based on in situ the asphaltite material is in the low strength class based on the
stress, rock mass strength, rock mass properties, and the shape ISO14689-1 (2003) classification system, the effect of discontinu-
C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305 303

ities, as seen in this study, increases the rock mass class to good. galleries will be driven in asphaltite in order to avoid the massive
Because of the rock material strength, most of the openings, espe- use of support elements in the Gercus formation.
cially those that are permanent underground infrastructures like The following results were obtained from rock burst activity
incline, ramp, and shafts, are proposed to be driven in the Midyat and squeezing potential investigations. There will be slight loosen-
formation. Some parts of the X/C galleries must be driven in the ing of rocks for incline and ramp in the Midyat formation. X/C gal-
Gercus formation in order to reach the production levels, and level leries in the Midyat formation are also expected to face severe rock

Unsupported Supported
σ1Total Displacement
Strength Factor

Fig. 13. Numerical model results for main and sublevel galleries in asphaltite.
304 C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305

σ1Total Displacement
Strength Factor Unsupported Supported

Fig. 14. Numerical model results for production gallery in asphaltite.

spalling, especially below a depth of 650 m. In contrast, X/C galler- with these results in order to protect the openings against rock
ies driven in the Gercus formation will encounter heavy rock burst spalling or burst and squeezing.
problems below a depth of 250 m and high squeezing potential be- The RMR and Q system classifications were used to solve sup-
low a depth of 350 m. Openings in asphaltite will also experience port design problems by empirical methods. It was recommended
severe rock burst activity or high squeezing potential. It is recom- by the RMR system classification to use rock bolts and shotcrete for
mended to apply support systems for these openings in accordance openings in the Midyat formation and in asphaltite. Steel sets must
C.A. Ozturk / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 38 (2013) 288–305 305

be used as additional support elements for openings in the Gercus Goel, R.K., Jethwa, J.L., Paithakan, A.G., 1995. Tunnelling through the young
Himalayas – a case history of the Maneri–Uttarkashi power tunnel.
formation. In contrast, the Q system proposed that unsupported
Engineering Geology 39, 31–44.
spans are suitable for openings in the Midyat formation and in Grimstad, E., Barton, N., 1993. Updating the Q-system for NMT. In: Proc. Int. Symp.
asphaltite, while X/C galleries in the Gercus formation must be on Sprayed Concrete, Fagernes, Norway, pp. 46–66.
supported by fiber-reinforced concrete and bolting. Hartman, H.L., 1992. SME Mining Engineering Handbook, vol. 2. SME, Inc., Colorado,
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properties of the surrounding rock mass. Stress around the open- linings under squeezing rock conditions – a new approach. In: Proc. Design and
ing, total displacement, and strength factor were the outputs of Performance of Underground Excavations, ISRM Symposium, Cambridge, pp.
these numerical analyses. Different types of support units were Karpuz, C., Bolukbasi, N., Pasamehmetoglu, A., Gürhan, A., 1986. GAL Silopi
also modeled in the numerical analysis studies, and appropriate asfaltitlerinin gaz icerigi, kendiliginden yanma riski ve kesilebilirliginin
support units were recommended for each opening. Based on these arastirilmasi. In: Proc. 5th Turkey Coal Congress, Turkey, pp. 379–391 (in
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Palmstrom, A., Broch, E., 2006. Use and misuse of rock mass classification systems
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