Masters Theses


"Ground control problems at surface mining operations can occur for a variety of reasons. The geologic setting, rock strengths, joint spacing, orientation, pore pressures, and many other factors contribute to slope instabilities that range from small rock falls to massive slides of material. While much of this ground movement can be predicted or controlled, each year many completely unexpected failures occur. This poses serious safety and economic issues for the mining industry, since any unanticipated movement of the ground increases the potential for significant property damage, injuries, and even death. In the United States alone, 70 people died in slope failure accidents at active mine sites between 1978 and 2000. Obviously, better methods for slope monitoring and mine design are needed to ensure the safety of mine workers.

Standard methods of slope monitoring generally involve measurements at a discrete set of points around the suspected area of instability. Often only a handful of points are monitored over thousands of square feet of highwall exposure. However, complete vigilance to monitor every potential failure block is neither feasible nor economical and is certainly not attainable using common point-displacement monitoring techniques. Many of the current monitoring methods are also difficult to implement at mines where steep highwalls and lack of benches limit access to areas above the working floor. In addition, as mining progresses, it is necessary to monitor different sections of pit walls. Continually relocating devices is not only costly and time consuming, but can also be dangerous, especially on unstable slopes.

This thesis proposes the novel use and potential adaptation of interferometric synthetic radar (INSAR) and multi-spectral imaging to slope monitoring and design. Since the equipment in question is not yet commercially available, field tests were performed to the best extent possible using two prototype systems. The first half of the study describes several geotechnical applications of radar interferometry and discusses the results of limited field trials of a ground-based system. The second portion of the study examines the application of multi-spectral imaging and presents the results from field tests of a prototype instrument used to map the geology of an open-pit mine highwall"--Abstract, page iii.


Grayson, R. Larry

Committee Member(s)

Bullock, Richard Lee, 1929-
Spurlock, David


Mining Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Mining Engineering


This work was prepared by a U.S. Government employee as part of official duties and legally may not be copyrighted in the United States of America.

Disclaimer: Any mention of company trade names or products does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The author gratefully acknowledges the funding and project support provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Spokane Research Laboratory.


University of Missouri--Rolla

Publication Date

Fall 2003


xii, 76 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 65-75).


© 2003 Jami Girard Dwyer, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Rock slopes -- Stability -- Monitoring
Strip mining -- Safety measures
Synthetic aperture radar

Thesis Number

T 8213

Print OCLC #