Assessing the Disturbed Rock Zone (DRZ) Around a 655 Meter Vertical Shaft in Salt Using Ultrasonic Waves: An Update

Hardy, R.D. (Sandia National Laboratories) | Holcomb, D.J. (Sandia National Laboratories)


ABSTRACT: An array of ultrasonic transducers was constructed consisting of three identical arrays at various depths in an air intake shaft at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Each array consists of transducers permanently installed in three holes arranged in an "L" shape. An active array, created by appropriate arrangement of the transducers and selection of transmitter-receiver pairs, allows the measurement of transmitted signal velocities and amplitudes (for attenuation studies) along 216 paths parallel, perpendicular and tangential to the shaft walls. Transducer positions were carefully surveyed, allowing absolute velocity measurements. Installation occurred over a period of about two years beginning in early 1989, with nearly continuous operation since that time, resulting in a rare, if not unique, record of the spatial and temporal variability of damage development around an underground opening. This paper reports results from the last two years of operation, updating the results reported by Holcomb, 1999. Results will be related to the damage, due to microcracking, required to produce the observed changes. It is expected that the results will be useful to other studies of the long-term deformation characteristics of salt.