The coal exploitation in the Upper Silesia region (along the Vistula River) triggers the strata seismic activity, characterized by very high energy, which can create mining damage of the surface objects, without any noticeable damages in the underground mining structures. It is assumed that the appearance of the high energy seismic events is the result of faults’ activation in the vicinity of the mining excavation. This paper presents the analysis of a case study of one coal mine, where during exploitation of the longwall panel no. 729, the high energy seismic events occurred in the faulty neighborhood. The authors had analyzed the cause of the presented seismic events, described the methods of energy decreasing and applied methods of prevention in the selected mining region. The analysis concluded that the cause of the high energy seismic events, during the exploitation of the longwall panel no. 729 was the rapid displacements on the fault surface. The fault’s movements arose in the overburden, about 250 m above the excavated longwall panel, and they were strictly connected to the cracking of the thick sandstone layer.
Geodesic measurements of mining area deformations indicate that their description fails to be regular, as opposed to what the predictions based on the relationships of the geometric-integral theory suggest. The Knothe theory, most commonly applied in that case, considers such parameters as the exploitation coefficient a and the angle of the main influences range tgβ, describing the geomechanical properties of the medium, as well as the mining conditions. The study shows that the values of the parameters a = 0.8 and tgβ = 2.0, most commonly adopted for the prediction of surface deformation, are not entirely adequate in describing each and every mining situation in the analysed rock mass. Therefore, the paper aims to propose methodology for determining the value of exploitation coefficient a, which allows to predict the values of surface subsidence caused by underground coal mining with roof caving, depending on geological and mining conditions. The characteristics of the analysed areas show that the following factors affect surface subsidence: thickness of overburden, type of overburden strata, type of Carboniferous strata, rock mass disturbance and depth of exploitation. These factors may allow to determine the exploitation coefficient a, used in the Knothe theory for surface deformation prediction.