• An iron cave is suppressed within a controlled mine advancement operation with strong monitoring
  • Geostructural continuous monitoring registering the first damages up to the total collapse
  • The project lasted four years allowing identification of four breakdown mechanisms for iron caves
  • The work discusses the mechanisms and relationships with geomechanical and stability issues


An iron cave in the vicinity of a mine in Carajás, Brazil, was selected to be mined within an assisted elimination project, planned to control all mine advancement operations towards the cave along with a strict speleological physical monitoring. It allowed, in a pioneering way, the recording of events in the cave from the first signs of damage until to the total collapse of the cave. The project lasted four years and it was possible to identify and describe four breakdown mechanisms in iron caves: Fragment downfall, Block downfall, Controlling structure reactivation, and Open discontinuity movement. The mechanisms occurred independently or together, and not necessarily in a chronological order. This work details and discusses the mechanisms and their relationships with the geostructural and geomechanical features of the cave to assist stability assessment studies.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License