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Emeritus engineering professor publishes textbook on surface subsidence

Syd Peng headshot

Syd Peng, Charles E. Lawall chair emeritus of mining engineering in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University, is the editor of a new textbookon surface subsidence, the sudden sinking of the ground’s surface with little or no horizontal motion.


“Imagine if a coal seam seven feet thick was mined out from 600-700 feet below the Engineering Sciences Building on campus,” Peng explained. “The overlying strata, layers of sedimentary rocks or soils, from the coal seam to the surface will break and the surface will subside four and a half feet, which would cause the building to tilt, crack up and might break apart.

“Because of this underground coal mining not only disturbs the rock layers beneath the surface, but also the rock layer above the coal seam,” he continued.

Written by 14 top experts in three leading coal producing and consuming countries in the world, “Surface Subsidence Engineering Theory and Practice,” discusses how surface subsidence is caused by underground mining.

The book also covers subsidence prediction, subsidence measurement techniques, subsidence impact on water bodies, subsidence damages, mitigation and control and subsidence on abandoned coal mines.

“Most importantly it covers the experience obtained so far in the world’s top three leading coal producing and consuming countries, the United States, China and Australia,” Peng said.

Peng has written several textbooks on the topics of longwall mining, ground control, and surface subsidence. He has received numerous awards including the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers Erskine Ramsey Medal and the Medal for Excellence from London’s Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. He is also a member of the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame and of the National Academy of Engineering.

He joined WVU in 1974 and was appointed as chair of mining engineering in 1979, a position he held until 2006. Peng served again as interim chair in 2015.

The textbook was published by CSIRO Publishing in Australia and will be publicly available on September 1.



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

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