The exploitation of Carrara Marble dates back to Roman times. Throughout these twenty centuries, quarrying activity was mostly developed in the Carrara district in open pit quarries. In the last decades many quarries have been moved into underground. In some areas the mining stopes are subjected to rock burst. In order to overcome this hazard, detailed studies were carried out on Carrara Marble's geostructural and geomechanical setting, as far as laboratory determinations of its basic physical and mechanical parameters, focused on obtaining knowledge of the right geomechanical assessment and marble rock-mass behaviour and on developing mining prospecting and stability analysis. On the basis of those studies, it is now possible to predict by means of FEM analysis, the occurrence of rock-bursts and to define the geometry and sequence of quarrying activity, such as the supports to be placed.
The exploitation of the world famous Carrara Marble (Tuscany, Italy) (Fig. 1) began with the Romans, decreased in the Middle Age and increased again during the Renaissance. The production of marble blocks gradually, but slowly, increased up to the end of XX century when both the technology and the increment of international assets brought to the necessity to evaluate the amount of marble and to organize the exploitation itself. In the last twenty years environmental concerns and mining optimization induced many quarries to move underground in order to lower the impact on environment and increase dimensional stone percentage production. Present day intense Carrara Marble exploitation, which includes the widening of the underground quarries, up to very large sized caverns, new concerns for safety and new specific laws have forced quarriers to apply to designers for up-to-date exploitation projects. This study concerns the rock-burst problems encountered in the deepest and larger of the Carrara Marble underground quarry: the Carlone quarry.