In order to effectively recover the residual coal resources, such as coal pillars and irregular coal blocks induced by large-scale extensive mining, in this study, we proposed a shortwall block mining (SBM) technology and examined the development pattern of the water-flowing fissure zone (WFZ) in the overlying strata during the SBM process. By analyzing the overlying rocks’ movement rules in SBM, the main controlling factors affecting the development of the height of the water-flowing fissure zone (HWFZ) determined are as follows: mining height, block length, and the width of the protective coal pillar among the blocks. Moreover, based on the elastic foundation beam theory, the mechanical model for the calculation of HWFZ in SBM was established. Based on the first strength theory, the calculation formula of the development HWFZ was derived. Using this model, the calculated HWFZ after SBM was 50.3 m, whereas the measured heights of the leakage of drilling washing fluid were 47.98 and 50.06 m, respectively. The calculated values almost fit well with the field-measured data, verifying the reliability of the proposed mechanical model. The results of this study can provide a significant reference for enhancing the recovery ratio of coal resources and optimizing water protection mining theory.
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