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  • A solid piece of masonry used to support a projecting part of a structure, for example, the supports that connect a bridge with a river bank.
  • A surface or mass provided to withstand thrust, for example, the end supports of an arch or bridge. In coal mining, (1) the weight of the rocks above a narrow roadway is transferred to the solid coal along the sides, which act as abutments of the arch of strata spanning the roadway; and (2) the weight of the rocks over a longwall face is transferred to the front abutment (the solid coal ahead of the face) and the back abutment (the settled packs behind the face). See also: overarching weight; pressure arch; load transfer. Syn: arch structure
    Source: Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, and Related Terms

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