Mine Surveying

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mine Surveying


(in Russian, marksheideriia), the branch of mining science and engineering that uses measurements made in the field, and also subsequent geometric constructions, as a basis for the study of the structure of a deposit, the shape and dimensions of mineral bodies in the interior and the location in them of components that are useful and harmful (for mining technology), the properties of enclosing rock, the spatial arrangement of mine workings, and the processes of stresses in rock and the earth’s surface in connection with mining work. It also reflects the dynamics of the production process of a mining enterprise. Mine surveying work is done by means of mine surveying instruments. Data from mine surveying are synthesized in mine documentation, which is a set of diagrams produced by geometric projection. Mine surveying is a composite science that is closely related to many scientific disciplines: mathematics, engineering, physics, astronomical geodesy, geology and mineralogy, geological exploration, the technology of exploitation of deposits, and construction.

Mine surveying is an inseparable part of all stages of mining operations. The work is done by a mine surveying service that is part of the mining enterprise or by an organization in charge of exploring the deposit and planning and construction of the mining enterprise. For detailed exploration of mineral deposits the tasks of the mine surveying service include construction of a reference grid, surveying the earth’s surface, transferring the plan for the location of exploratory workings to the actual site, and surveying all exploratory workings, as well as natural and man-made rock exposures. Working with geologists, mine surveyors use the surveys to compile the diagrams for mining documentation; the diagrams reflect the volume of exploratory work that has been done, the condition of the earth’s surface, the shape and dimensions of bodies of minerals, the quality of the minerals, and the properties of enclosing rock. Mine surveyors also take part in estimation of geological reserves. During the planning of mining enterprises, mine surveyors take part in planning and surveying work, planning the boundaries of mining enterprises and systems for working the deposit, locating projected buildings and structures in the area of the mineral deposit, determining safety measures to protect structures against the harmful influence of mining development, and compiling timetables for the development of mining work. In addition, they check planned ratios of the geometric elements of the master plan for the surface and make calculations of available reserves. During the construction of mining enterprises the mine surveying service constructs a grid of reference points, transfers the geometric elements of the construction plan to the actual site, checks on fulfillment of the planned ratio of geometric elements during installation of hoisting devices and reinforcing of mineshafts, assigns the direction of mine workings, makes execution surveys, and prepares the mining documentation necessary for exploitation of the deposit.

During the exploitation of deposits the mine surveying service records the mining enterprise’s production process and compiles the drawings for mine documentation. As the mine workings progress, the service establishes with greater accuracy the conditions of bedding of the deposit and the shape of the mineral body, the quality of the mineral, and the properties of the enclosing rock. In addition, it compiles diagrams that reflect the structure of the deposit, the shape of the mineral bodies, the quality of the mineral and distribution of useful components, the properties of enclosing rock, the dynamics of the process of rock shifting, and other phenomena that must be known in order to improve the technological procedures for exploitation of the deposit and to plan the development of mining work. The direction of mine workings is set, steps are taken to ensure safety near danger zones and checks are instituted to see that such measures are taken, observations are made on the shifting of rock and on phenomena of rock pressure, measures are developed to protect buildings, structures, natural objects, and mine workings against harmful influence from mine development, and records are kept of the movement of industrial reserves, losses, and depletion of the mineral. When mining enterprises are shut down permanently or temporarily, the mine surveying service determines to what extent the mineral has been extracted and updates the mine documentation diagrams to the time of shutdown.

Mine surveying originated simultaneously with mining. Problems of measurements in mineshafts were being solved even in ancient times. In Egypt, as early as the 16th to 14th centuries B.C., reduced scale representations of mining excavations were constructed on plane surfaces. Hero of Alexandria (presumably first century A.D.) was the first to describe the method of underground surveying and orientation. The German scholar G. Agricola (16th century) gave a brief summary of methods of accomplishing tasks of mine surveying.

In Russia, mine surveying finally took shape under Peter I as a special department of mining enterprises. At that time the specialists who worked on spatial geometric measurements related to mining were called mining geometers. Their experience was first summarized by M. V. Lomonosov in his work The First Foundations of Metallurgy (1763).

The term marksheideriia became established in the 1940’s; earlier terms were “subterranean geometry” and “mine surveying” (A. Martov, 1777), “mining topography” and “mine topography” (G. A. Time, 1884 and 1890), “mine surveying art” and “mine geodesy” (L. A. Saks, 1886; V. I. Bauman, 1900 and 1905), and “mining geometry” (P. M. Leontovskii, 1906). In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the prominent Russian scientists V. I. Bauman, P. M. Leontovskii, P. K. Sobolevskii, I. M. Bakhurin, N. G. Kell’, and D. N. Ogloblin developed the theory and practice of mining geodesy.

Mine surveying is continuing to develop in the USSR: the methods of application of geometry to deposits are being worked out and the scientific discipline of “geometry of the earth’s interior” is taking shape (P. K. Sobolevskii, P. A. Ryzhov, and I. N. Ushakov), and the methodology for studying rock stress and calculating elements of rock displacement is being created (I. M. Bakhurin, S. G. Avershin, M. V. Korotkov). This work has made possible the establishment of rules for protecting structures and natural objects against harmful influence from underground workings in the USSR and to begin forming the discipline of “rock displacement” within the field of mine surveying.

In the 20th century the continuing development of the science of mine surveying has been reflected abroad in the works of O. Nimtschik (Federal Republic of Germany), K. Neubert (German Democratic Republic), F. Ćechura (Czechoslovakia), A. Tarczy-Hornoch (Hungary), and Z. Kowalczyk (Poland). In the USSR, integrated research in mine surveying is carried out at the Institute of Mine Surveying.


Kell’, N. G. Vysshaia geodeziia igeodezicheskie raboty, parts 1-2. Leningrad, 1932-33.
Avershin, S. G. Sdvizhenie gornykh porodpripodzemnykh razrabotkakh. Moscow, 1947.
Bakhurin, I. M. Kurs marksheiderskogo dela, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1962.
Ushakov, I. N. Gornaia geometriia, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1962.
Ryzhov, P. A. Geometriia nedr, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1964.
Marksheiderskoe delo, 2nd ed, parts 1-2. Moscow, 1970.
Ćechura, F. Dúlní Měřictví, parts 1-2. Prague, 1948-56.
Der Deutsche Steinkohlenbergbau, 2nd ed. Essen, 1956.
Kowalczyk, Z. Miernictwo górnicze, parts 1-2. Katowice, 1965-68.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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