Sensors Detect Huge Mine Landslide in Advance
A 165-million-ton landslide rocked Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine on April 10, registering as a 2.4-magnitude earthquake in nearby Salt Lake City. The cascade of rock damaged giant trucks and digger machines, but not one of the 500 people who work the 2.75-mile-wide, 0.75-mile-deep pit was injured.
That’s because Kennecott employees expected a slide months in advance. For years, the mine has used sensors embedded in its walls to detect stress in rock, and lasers perched on the pit rim to measure the position of hundreds of reflectors mounted to the mine face. New radar technology allows the company to detect changes as small as 1/100th of an inch in the distance between monitoring stations inside the pit and large areas of the mine wall every six to eight minutes.
Read more via High Country News