Monitoring microcrack evolution during core relaxation from high in-situ stresses by acoustic emission at Pyhäsalmi Mine, Finland

C. Wieser, H. Käsling, K. Thuro, G. Nuijten

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The time-dependent behavior of brittle rocks during stress relaxation is of great interest for mining industry, nuclear waste disposal as well as tunneling and underground construction. Several studies have shown that both elastic as well as inelastic deformation occur during stress relaxation (Emery, 1964; Zang & Berckhemer, 1989). While elastic strain occurs already during the drilling process, inelastic deformation is time-dependent and can endure for hours, days or weeks. To investigate the evolution of microcracks during core relaxation, two crystalline core samples were recovered from high in situ stress conditions in Europe's deepest mine in Pyhäsalmi (Finland). Samples were prepared for testing within one hour after coring such that a large portion of the time-dependent component of relaxation could be recorded over several days using ultrasonic velocity as well as acoustic emission (AE) measurements. Results from AE analysis show an exponential decrease in the number of events over a period of several hours. Repeated sudden increases of acoustic events can be related to the propagation or the interaction of cracks. In the first hours of recording also the signal energies reached the highest values and the increases in signal energy correlate well with increased event rates. On additional drill cores, P-wave velocities were measured parallel and in 45° distances perpendicular to the core axis. After core recovery, stress-induced microcracking caused an exponential decrease in wave velocities similar to AE rates. Lowest compressional wave velocities were measured parallel to the core axis and thus normal to the foliation and in the direction of the maximum in situ stress component. The highest measured velocities occurred parallel to the foliation plane. Within the samples, the anisotropy ratios were up to 1.37 at the beginning of the measurements and increased to values of up to 1.8 after 45 days. The wave velocity anisotropy is in agreement with the in situ stress orientations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication13th ISRM International Congress of Rock Mechanics
Editors Hassani, Hadjigeorgiou, Archibald
PublisherInternational Society for Rock Mechanics
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781926872254
StatePublished - 2015
Event13th ISRM International Congress of Rock Mechanics 2015 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 10 May 201513 May 2015

Publication series

Name13th ISRM International Congress of Rock Mechanics
Volume2015- MAY


Conference13th ISRM International Congress of Rock Mechanics 2015


  • Acoustic emission
  • Anisotropy
  • Damage
  • Microcracking
  • P-wave velocity
  • Stress relaxation


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