Leadville Tunnel Blowout Analysis Using MathCad

The United States Bureau of Reclamation requested a study to evaluate the effects of a partial failure of the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel (LMDT) that would release increased concentrations of zinc into the Arkansas River. The drainage tunnel is approximately two miles long and connects with the East Fork of the Arkansas River (US Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation, 2008) (refer to Figure 1). The blockage of interest, where partial failure may occur, is located near the Pendery Fault (refer to Figure 2).

The tunnel likely experienced roof collapse near the faulted area creating the blockage (Wireman et al., 2006). A partial failure of the blocked area has several factors of uncertainty, including the unknown dimensions of the failure area. Other factors of uncertainty include the volume of water behind the blockage, the flow rates through the tunnel, and the depth and velocity of the Arkansas River when the partial blowout occurs.

MathCad Analysis