Surface Subsidence induced by the Crandall Canyon Mine (Utah) Collapse: InSAR Observations and Elasto-Plastic Modelling

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geomechanics, elasticity and anelasticity, dynamics and mechanics of faulting, mechanics, theory and modelling, rheology: crust and lithosphere

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The Crandall Canyon Mine, Utah, collapse in 2007 August resulted in a total of nine fatalities. We processed data from the ALOS satellite acquired before and after the collapse to quantify surface subsidence associated with the collapse to better understand the collapse process. The deformation shows a steep V-shaped pattern of subsidence with slight asymmetry. We compare the fit of four different models that simulate the subsidence pattern. The first two models use elastic half-space rheology. We find that collapse alone cannot explain the observations, and a component of normal faulting is required to fit the data. The second set of models simulates collapse in elasto-plastic media. Only a small component of normal faulting is required in these models. We suggest that considering elasto-plastic material behaviour is particularly important for shallow deformation modelling, where microfractures and other non-elastic rheology are common. Disregarding this material behaviour can lead to biased model parameter estimates.

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Geophysical Journal International, v. 183, issue 3, p. 1089-1096.