2013 is the 125th anniversary of the UA School of Mines
Pioneering Geomechanics: From Fiber-Optic Sensing to High-Tech Rock Softening
Optical science technology is changing the face of mining – with discoveries that improve mine safety and increase productivity. Nanosecond laser pulses traveling at the speed of light detect and relay any rock movement instantly. Fiber-optic cables stream continuous information on mine ventilation. Hyperspectral cameras view 700 different wavelengths of light to expose mineral content. High-tech analysis of rock stress reveals a way to soften rock, making it easier to drill and break. Geosensing and geomechanics experts at the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources collaborate across disciplines to bring these innovations to the mining industry. They’re discovering how to improve blasting efficiency, predict unstable conditions, reduce material loss between the mine and the mill, and exploring other solutions to optimize mining in the 21st century.