Modeling of subsidence and stress-dependent hydraulic conductivity for intact and fractured porous media

M. Bai, D. Elsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


This study investigates the changes in deformation and stress dependent hydraulic conductivities that occur as a result of underground mining in intact and fractured porous media. The intact porous medium is assumed to be comprised of regularly packed spherical grains of uniform size. The variation in grain size or pore space due to the effect of changing intergranular stresses results in a change in rock hydraulic conductivity. A model is developed to describe the sensitivity of hydraulic conductivity to effective stresses through Hertzian contact of spherical grains. The fractured porous medium is approximated as an equivalent fracture network in which a single fracture is idealized as a planar opening having a constant equivalent thickness or aperture. Changes in fracture aperture as a result of changes in elastic deformation control the variation of hydraulic conductivity. A model is presented to illustrate the coupling between strain and hydraulic conductivity. Subsidence induced deformations that result from mining induced changes in hydraulic conductivity in both intact and fractured media. These changes are examined and compared with results from a mining case study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-234
Number of pages26
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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