Towards an Integrated Field Mapping-Numerical Modelling Approach for Characterising Discontinuity Persistence and Intact Rock Bridges in Large Open Pits

Four major rock slopes were investigated using modified geotechnical survey methods to help improve characterisation of discontinuity persistence and intact rock bridges. Field observations and digital mapping results form the basis for a conceptual numerical modelling study, where distinct element and lattice-spring codes were used to investigate the influence of intact rock bridge content on slope behaviour. Preliminary results suggest that in addition to increasing shear strength along potential failure surfaces, intact rock bridge content can also influence the internal strength and deformability of potential slide volumes. Based on field observations and modelling results, the authors make preliminary recommendations for improving characterisation of discontinuity persistence and intact rock bridges in rock slopes. The authors emphasize the need for a flexible methodology, which can be adapted according to site-specific factors including geology, slope size, blast-induced damage, and the mapping tools available to the practitioner.

Tuckey, Z., D.Stead, M. Havaej, F. Gao and M. Sturzenegger. 2012. “Towards an Integrated Field Mapping-Numerical Modelling Approach for Characterising Discontinuity Persistence and Intact Rock Bridges in Large Open Pits,” in: GeoManitoba, Building on the Past, 65th Canadian Geotechnical Conference, Winnipeg, Manitoba, September 30-October 3, 2012. Toronto: Canadian Geotechnical Society.

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