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Rock Mass Characterization

Geological and geotechnical data collection

To obtain representative and unbiased information: Location of major geological features Discontinuity orientation, frequency, size, shear strength Information to carry out a rock mass classification Intact rock strength Ground water Joint condition

Rock mass can be thought of as an assembly of potential blocks, which can be disaggregated by an excavation process Geotechnical domains: regions of similar engineering behaviour that can be delineated within a rock mass. Structural domains: regions comprising similar sets of geological structures that can be delineated within a rock mass Systematic collection of geotechnical information is essential for accurate characterization

Rock mass behavior is controlled by the nature of geological discontinuities and the physical properties of the rock material bridges (intact rock bridges) Large scale geological discontinuities are often low in shear strength and continuous, and can be seismically active. They are often defined during orebody delineation Minor scale jointing stochastic joint set characteristics, sampling techniques required

Types of Data Collected

Rock Name (Type) Rock Material Properties
Colour Grain size and shape Texture Other textural features and fabric State of weathering State of alteration Strength

Types of Data Collected

Alteration & weathering
Affects both rock & discontinuities

Alteration may enhance rock strength

Weathering will always reduce rock strength

Multiple weathering schemes have been suggested including Dearman (1986) and Stapleton ,1976

Types of Data Collected

Types of Data Collected

Strength Via laboratory testing
Uniaxial Compressive Tests Triaxial Tests

Field Tests
Point load Index Schmidt Hammer

Discontinuity wall strength Grades See next slide

Types of Data Collected

Source of Data
Core Logging Borehole geophysical logging Outcrop and spot mapping Systematic face mapping
Scanline mapping Window mapping Photographic scanning Steropsis

Source of Data

Geotechnical core log

Comprises: Header (hole number, project, rig, core size, bit type, plunge and bearing of hole, collar coordinates) Depth (from - to) Rock material description Degree of weathering Field estimate of rock strength Graphic log Defect description and angle relative to core axis Location of samples taken for testing Rock Quality Designation Core recovery Water return Packer test results Casing details

Oriented Core Log

Augments data from the simple geotechnical log and includes additional information on:
alpha and beta angles for the defect

defect roughness and planarity infill characteristics (type and thickness) actual fracture spacing