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Procedimiento lógico para el backanálisis mediante Mohr-Coulomb y Hoek-Brown.

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Int. J. Rock Mech. Min. Sci. Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 219233, 1998

# 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved

Printed in Great Britain

0148-9062/98 $19.00 + 0.00

of Slope Failures in Closely Jointed Rock

Masses

H. SONMEZ

R. ULUSAY

C. GOKCEOGLU

Where closely jointed rock masses are encountered in slopes, failure can

occur both through the rock mass, as a result of combination of macro and

micro jointing, and through the rock substance. Determination of the

strength of this category of rock mass is extraordinarily dicult since the

size of representative specimens is too large for laboratory testing. This diculty can be overcome by using a non-linear rock mass failure criterion or

by back analysis of such slopes to estimate the rock mass strength. In this

paper, a practical procedure and a computer program are presented for the

back determination of shear strength parameters mobilized in slopes cut in

closely jointed rock masses which obey a non-linear failure criterion rather

than a linear one. The procedure shows that the constants to derive normal

stress dependent shear strength parameters of the failed rock masses can be

determined by utilizing a main cross-section and without a pre-determined

value of rock mass rating (RMR). Trials are made for dierent RMRm and

RMRs values corresponding to various possible combinations of the constant

m and s, which are used in the HoekBrown failure criterion, satisfying the

limit equilibrium condition. It is also noted that the procedure provides a

quick check for the rock mass rating obtained from the site investigations.

The method is used in conjunction with the Bishop's method of analysis

based on circular slip surfaces. The procedure outlined in this paper has also

been satisfactorily applied to documented slope failure case histories in three

open pit mines in Turkey. # 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd.

INTRODUCTION

failure mechanisms related to discontinuities can be

analyzed and the stability of slopes excavated in that

rock mass can be calculated providing the shear

strength along the discontinuities is known. However,

such an analytical approach might not be feasible for

slopes containing multiple discontinuity sets with large

variations in mechanical characteristics. Continuum

calculations for engineering structures in or on a rock

mass, whether analytical or numerical, cannot be

appropriate, since over-simplications result from presenting the rock mass as a continuum.

In general, the slope stability determination methods

depending on the material involved may be divided

into three broad categories:

Hacettepe University, Faculty of Engineering, Geological

Engineering Department, Applied Geology Division, 06532

Beytepe, Ankara, Turkey.

219

materials where the strength of the material can be

determined from testing small specimens of the material in the laboratory.

(b) Methods suitable for slopes in hard jointed rocks

where slope stability is controlled by the discontinuities

in the rock material. The potential for failure is dependent on the presence and orientation of discontinuities,

and shear strength along them.

(c) Methods suitable for closely jointed rock masses

where failure can occur both through the rock mass,

as a result of a combination of macro and micro jointing, and through the rock substance. Determination of

the strength of this category of rock mass is a much

more dicult task. There are formidable diculties in

the sampling and testing of undisturbed samples that

are suciently large to represent the combined eects

of rock material and discontinuities. The possibility for

the measurement of the shear strength of such rock

masses is usually based on some form of classication

220

Fig. 1. Eect of scale on rock strength and possible mechanisms of failure in rock slopes.

A rock mass is described as closely jointed when the

joint spacing is small in relation to the scale of the

project in question. In closely jointed media it seems

appropriate to assume that the material is approximately isotropic and homogeneous, i.e. there are no

clearly dened joint planes or joint sets which control

the form of the failure mode. In these rocks, the joint

spacing is a fraction of meter, the individual particles

of rock mass are very small compared to the dimension of slope and these particles are not interlocked

due to their shape. Depending on the number and

nature of the discontinuities, the intact rock pieces will

translate, rotate or crush in response to stresses

imposed on the rock mass. The behavior of the mass is

thus a consequence of the combined action of a large

number of individual joints. When the rock mass contains a number of discontinuity sets, having relatively

small spacings in relation to the slope size, failure can

occur along a shear surface similar to those observed

in soil slopes. Therefore, the required conditions for a

circular failure are mostly satised in heavily jointed

rock masses as illustrated in Fig. 1.

The standard method for assessing the strength of a

geotechnical material is to recover a sample and test it

in laboratory. In the case of a closely jointed rock

mass it is clearly not possible to recover a sample that

is large enough to represent the joint system.

Therefore, an empirical approach such as rock mass

classication can be attractive alternative, provided

that the appropriate parameters are included in the

classication system. In order to overcome the diculties in laboratory determination of the shear strength

of jointed rock masses; the HoekBrown failure criterion in conjunction with geomechanics classication

system [1] is commonly used.

Rock mass classication has been applied successfully in tunnelling and underground mining [13, 9]. A

number of systems, introduced by Bieniawski [1] and

by Romana [10], has also been suggested for rock

slopes. It should be noted, however, that the use of

rock mass classications developed particularly for

underground works may lead to unsatisfactory results

slopes. This is due to the restrictions of these systems

which are not well considered.

Recently, an empirical failure criterion developed by

Hoek and Brown [58] has been adopted to the RMR

rock mass classication scheme [1] to assess the shear

strength of the jointed rock masses in surface and

underground excavations. This approach has been also

employed in slope stability analyses by several

investigators [1114]. The slope mass rating (SMR)

classication scheme proposed by Romana [10] also

involves the input parameters used by the RMR-system, but generally provides assessments on structurally

controlled slope failures.

The main input parameters used in various classication systems are more or less the same. Namely,

these systems consider intact rock strength, RQD, discontinuity spacing, condition and orientation of discontinuities and groundwater conditions. Although a

number of additional input parameters and some

modications are required in the RMR classication

scheme, the advantage of the system is that it provides

an easy connection to the HoekBrown failure criterion for jointed rock masses. The intact rock strength

is one of the input parameters involved in the RMRSystem and is only of limited interest with regard to

the stability of rock slopes in which failure is most

often associated with the shear strength of discontinuities. Sometimes a rock mass having low intact rock

strength is a consequence of the failed rock containing

a large number of discontinuities. In addition to this,

the purpose of including intact rock strength in the

classication system for slopes is to give an assessment

of wall rock strength of the discontinuities. As stated

by Hoek [15], the HoekBrown failure criterion is only

applicable to intact rock or to closely jointed rock

masses which can be considered homogeneous and isotropic. The rock mass parameters RQD and discontinuity spacing dene the block size and block form and

are also very useful in analyzing stability of slopes.

Therefore, these two parameters are considered by the

authors to be the parameters of meaningful value in

rock mass classication, particularly for slopes excavated in closely jointed rock masses.

related to roughness, continuity, inll material, aperture and degree of weathering. Laubscher [9] takes

into account in his nal RMR rating only the condition factor of the most prominent discontinuity set

or the discontinuity set with the most adverse inuence

on the stability of an underground excavation. This is

too simple for slopes where the failure is often not

determined by one main discontinuity set. Particularly

for the slopes in a closely jointed rock mass, the condition rating becomes more important and it is taken

as the mean value of the condition ratings of the

dierent discontinuity sets. For the rock slopes, the

persistence has a considerable inuence on the stability

and the RMR-System takes into account the persistence as a quantitative factor. Weathering aects the

condition of discontinuities and discontinuity spacing.

It is also noted that the state of weathering is considered to be a local feature which has changed the

rock mass at a particular location. Within the lifespan

of a cut slope, future weathering might lead to instability. Therefore, the weathering parameter included in

the RMR-System is a very important factor in slope

stability.

The main problem of water in slopes is the pressure

of the water in discontinuities. The presence of water

in discontinuities reduces the stability of slopes by

reducing the strength of discontinuity surfaces or of

any inll material. The water pressure is taken into

account in the slope stability analysis by estimating the

pressure or the position of groundwater table in slope.

But the softening or weakening eect of water on discontinuity surfaces becomes more important for slopes.

Consequently, the groundwater rating is an integral

part of the rock mass classication and should be

assigned for each particular outcrop for slopes.

In closely jointed or crushed rock masses it is very

dicult or impossible to determine the orientation of

discontinuities. In such cases, the orientation is not

meaningful, because part of the rock mass will fall into

the underground opening and require immediate support regardless of discontinuity orientation. In the case

of slopes excavated in such rocks, the situation is not

dierent. Bieniawski [1] in his RMR classication

scheme, suggests rating adjustments for discontinuity

orientations, relative to proposed slope orientation,

ranging between 0 and 60. No guidelines have been

published for the denition of each adjustment values,

and no reference is given by Bieniawski to use of the

RMR classication in slopes. The reason for this lack

of use is probably the extremely high values of the

adjustment rating values which may sometime result in

negative RMR values. Therefore, the ratings assigned

for discontinuity orientation adjustments suggested by

Bieniawski [1] is unrealistic. Singh and Gahrooee [16]

proposed better and clearer descriptions for discontinuity orientation in slopes. This approach was quantied on the basis of rating with regard to the number

of possible modes of failure. The authors of the pre-

221

sent paper think that the above mentioned rating system is still questionable. First of all, Singh and

Gahrooee [16] did not change the values of ratings

which can reach up to 60 points out of 100. As discussed before, such an adjustment is not applicable in

practice. Secondly, in a closely jointed rock mass, the

most probable mode of failure occurs in the form of a

circular shape regardless of discontinuity orientation.

Consequently, only one denition namely ``one possible mode of failure'' is considered to be more logical,

and a single adjustment of 5 for discontinuity orientation is more realistic for slope failures in closely

jointed rock masses.

Some factors such as method of excavation, major

planes of weakness or change in stress are treated as

local features which have inuenced the rock mass at a

particular location and are not rock mass constants.

These have been discussed by Laubscher [9],

Romana [10] and Kendorski et al. [17]. The greatest

inuence of the method of excavation will be on the

spacing of discontinuities. Depending of the blasting

damage, blasted slopes may have closer discontinuity

spacing than natural slopes. Therefore, in order to

compensate for the inuence of such local factors,

necessary adjustments [1, 9, 17] are taken into consideration in rock mass classication for the slope failures

in closely jointed rock masses investigated in this

study.

On the other hand, during a classication process,

serious diculties are encountered in determining or

describing some of the rock mass parameters, particularly in poor quality rock masses [1820]. Due to such

uncertainties, the calculated rock mass rating may

erroneously aect the constants and shear strength

parameters derived from the non-linear rock mass failure criterion. The most reliable way to obtain a mean

value of the constants m and s employed by the

HoekBrown failure criterion in an extended slope is

by back-calculation and by comparison of the results

of back-calculation with the available data derived

from the HoekBrown criterion [21]. However, in

some cases it is unlikely that an accurate assessment of

the true strength parameters for a given rock mass will

ever be available due to limitations, so RMR values

cannot be precisely determined. Because the results of

back-analysis provide a range of combinations of

apparent friction angle and cohesion, the problem of

parameter selection becomes dicult in such cases.

The procedure presented herein is to perform a

back-analysis of failed slopes cut in jointed rock

masses to estimate the rock mass rating and shear

strength parameters mobilized at the time of failure.

The main philosophy of the method recognizes that it

is unlikely that an accurate assessment of the value of

RMR and shear strength parameters for a given rock

mass will ever be available. A detailed description of

the procedure which can be readily incorporated into

the conventional back analysis of a slope failure in a

jointed rock mass, where only a single cross-section is

222

available, is presented with a computer solution developed for the purpose. The proposed method is also

applied to failure case histories in jointed rock masses

at three open pit mines located in Turkey to check its

performance.

METHOD OF ANALYSIS

One of the most dicult tasks in slope stability

analysis is the determination of the shear strength parameters (c, f) along the sliding surfaces. In geotechnical engineering practice, failure of a slope can be

regarded as a full scale eld test and an assessment of

any failure is, therefore, of considerable value.

Appropriate geomechanics models can be used to estimate the values of shear strength parameters on the

basis of certain assumptions. These back calculated

values may then be used for preventative and remedial

work for the redesign of failed slopes and for new projects in similar types of material. Therefore, it is considered that back analyses are an integral part of the

slope design.

The shear strength parameters of a failed slope have

been back calculated by geotechnical engineers and engineering geologists in the following procedures:

(a) Assuming the value of the angle of internal friction f or of the cohesion c to calculate another [22]

(Fig. 2(a)).

(b) Utilizing a main cross-section of a failed slope

and another cross-section near the main one in the

same failed slope or utilizing two cross-sections in two

failed slopes which have similar geological and hydrogeological conditions to establish two equations and

then evaluate the values of c and f (single solution;

Fig. 2(b)).

(c) Because of the variations in the mechanical properties of the same material in dierent places, utilizing

Fig. 2. Basic back analysis approaches applied for the slope forming materials obeying linear failure envelopes: (a) derived

range of c and f and determination of c from an assumed f; (b) single solution for two slides with dierent geometry; (c)

multiple solutions for four slides with dierent geometry; and (d) multiple solutions with a comparison with laboratory derived strength test results.

as n(n 1)/2 points of intersections (solutions) for n

curves c(f) (multiple solutions; [23]; Fig. 2(c)). The set

of continuous curves represents the range of back calculation solutions from which the most realistic solution can be obtained based on engineering judgement,

experience and veried with shear test results if these

are available (Fig. 2(d)).

The above procedures, however, are based on the

back calculation of the shear strength parameters of

the materials obeying linear MohrCoulomb failure

criterion which are characterized by c and f values

independent from the normal stress. But a consensus

has gradually emerged among the rock mechanics

community that the failure envelope for a closely

jointed rock mass is curved rather than linear. The

authors believe that the HoekBrown non-linear failure criterion [47], which has gained an increasing

popularity in stability analyses made in conjunction

with rock mass classication systems, provides a meaningful estimate of rock mass behavior. Due to the nonlinear nature of this failure criterion, the above mentioned methods are unrealistic for use with closely

jointed rock slopes, i.e. the shear strength parameters

of a failure surface in closely jointed rock masses can

be calculated for any specic normal stress value using

the material constants (m and s) as a function of rock

mass rating (RMR) from the following equation [24];

for disturbed rock masses:

m

RMR 100

exp

1a

mi

14

RMR 100

s exp

6

1b

m

RMR 100

exp

mi

28

s exp

RMR 100

9

223

materials to slake and de-laminate. In addition, as

reported by Unal et al. [18], Ulusay et al. [19] and

Unal [20], serious diculties are encountered in determining or describing some of the rock mass parameters, particularly in weak, stratied and claybearing rocks. In such circumstances overestimated

rock mass ratings might be obtained and they result in

deriving dierent m and s values than those in real

situation. On the other hand, in some areas where

slope failures have occurred, because of the limited

number of outcrops or no borehole data, the rock

mass rating can not be precisely determined.

Therefore, a back analysis based on such limited or

questionable data may yield unrealistic results.

The strategy of this study is aimed at overcoming

the diculties associated with the limitations discussed

above. In this strategy, a procedure is suggested to

identify the most reasonable and a common rock mass

rating (RMR) value which corresponds to the pair of

m and s satisfying the limit equilibrium condition. In

jointed rock masses obeying the HoekBrown failure

criterion, a function F, the conventional factor of

safety commonly specied in the limit equilibrium

methods of slope stability analysis, depends on several

variables and for any particular sliding surface may be

written in the following form:

F FfRMRm, s, GW, G g

where RMR: rock mass rating (m and s are the material constants), GW: groundwater conditions prevailing in the slope, G: geometry of the slope and the

failure surface.

2a

2b

and can either be calculated form laboratory triaxial

test on intact samples or taken from the tables proposed by Hoek [24], and Hoek et al. [8].

In the case of a slope instability with accurately

specied failure geometry in a closely jointed rock

mass, if the value of RMR is precisely determined and

the triaxial test data are available, back analysis of the

failure provides a realistic comparison between the

rock mass strength obtained from the failure surface

yielding a safety factor of unity and the failure envelope derived with the updated HoekBrown failure criterion as reported by Ulusay and Aksoy [21] (Fig. 3).

However, in weak sedimentary rocks, such as shales,

marls and siltstones, and in heavily fractured schistose

rock masses, preparation of specimens for triaxial test-

from the failure surfaces yielding safety factors of unity and the failure envelope with the updated HoekBrown criterion for coal-bearing rocks (after Ref. [21]).

224

known and equal to one for a case study concerned

with a slope that has failed. The value of the geometry

data G in Equation (3) can be delineated from the

results of eld inspection or by surveying the actual

failed slope. The values of the constants m and s at the

time of failure are unknowns and groundwater condition, GW, may be either known or unknown.

The suggested approach involves the determination

of various possible combinations of m and s satisfying

the following equation:

1 FfRMRm, s, GW, G g

The back analysis method presented herein is based

on the following assumptions:

(1) The geometry of the slope before and after failure, the position of the sliding surface, and the

groundwater conditions are known.

(2) The mechanism of the movement is known.

(3) A condition of static equilibrium at the point of

failure (limit equilibrium) exists at the time of failure.

(4) In closely jointed media, it seems appropriate to

assume that material is approximately homogeneous.

(5) What is obtained by back calculation is a

weighed mean value of RMR and corresponding m

and s values along the failure surface at the time of

failure.

(6) A set of relations between the RMR from the

Bieniawski's rock mass classication [1] and the constants given in Equations (1a)(b) and (2a)(b) are

used in conjunction with the equations given by the

updated HoekBrown failure criterion [24].

(7) Uniaxial compressive strength (sc) and the material constant mi are the input parameters.

The back analysis procedure starts with the fact that

the constants m and s of a given rock mass depend

upon an RMR value (Equations (1a)(b) and (2a)

(b)), and therefore, various possible combinations of

(m, s) pairs at the time of failure (F = 1) can be derived from dierent RMR values. The procedure

which performs back calculations for three unknown

parameters can be carried out using the following algorithm.

Step 1. One variable, RMR, out of three unknown

geomechanical parameters (RMR, m, s) is selected and

the second unknown, the constant s, is calculated by

the utilization of Equation (1b) or Equation (2b)

depending on the condition of disturbance (blasted

and/or excavated rock, or none) of the rock mass. The

RMR value selected to calculate the parameter s is

denoted by RMRs.

Step 2. By utilizing the position of the sliding surface, normal stress acting on each slice base is calculated. Keeping the previously chosen RMRs value and

the corresponding RMR (RMRm) which lead a value

of safety factor of unity are calculated by trial and

error technique in conjunction with the equations

criterion [24].

Step 3. Trials are made for dierent values of

RMRs(s) to obtain various possible combinations of

RMRs and RMRm satisfying the limit equilibrium condition.

The results of the back analysis are best presented in

a RMRsRMRm function forms, i.e. RMRs plotted

against RMRm considering each combination to lead

to a value of the factor of safety F = 1 (Fig. 4). All

the points (or RMR pairs) located on the curve indicate a safety factor of unity. Because the closely

jointed rock mass is an approximately homogeneous

material, it is logical to consider that the rock mass

must have a unique RMR value from which a pair of

m and s representing a given rock mass can be derived

using Equations (1a)(b) and (2a)(b). Thus, if a

straight line passing from the origin of the graph (see

Fig. 4) with an inclination of 458 is drawn, it intersects

the RMRsRMRm curve at a certain point which indicates a common RMR (RMRRM:the actual RMR for

the rock mass) value for both constants at the time of

failure and utilization of this back analyzed RMRRM

value will yield the right combination of the two constants, m and s, of the rock mass.

Software description

The method described above has been used to

develop a computer program for conventional deterministic slope stability analysis and back calculation. The

computer program was written in QBasic and can run

on any type of IBM PC or compatible equipped with

a graphics card and monitor. The program

HOBRSLP, which has routines that search the more

critical failure surface in a grid system or automatically, can handle slope stability analysis of circular slip

surfaces for slopes involving many benches with dierent geometries, various materials and dierent groundwater conditions, and includes simplied Bishop's

method of analysis [25].

Two options are included in the program: (a) conventional stability analysis for searching the most critical failure surface and corresponding lowest factor of

safety; (b) back analysis of a failed slope with known

failure geometry. Input data for the program includes

the coordinates of the points specifying slope geometry, water conditions prevailing in the slope, and material properties. It will also prompt users to enter the

tension crack position. Output consists of a table of

input data, safety factor, a cross-section of the slope

showing all strata, water table, the failure surface, and

a list of ci, fi, sn, t for each slice base if the case consists of materials having non-linear failure envelopes.

Three dierent methods of shear strength data input

are incorporated in the program with keyboard selection of the input mode for conventional analysis.

These three modes are as follows:

(1) Input of the known shear strength parameters

derived from linear Coulomb equation.

input data for rock types, RMR value, sc, and material constant mi.

(3) Calculating the shear strength parameters from

normal stress (sn) acting on each slice base, and the

constants A and B for the materials tted to power

curve strength equation (t = AsB).

The back calculation option provides the use of the

rst two modes mentioned above. In the back analysis

option, mi and sc are given as material properties with

the condition of rock mass (disturbed or undisturbed).

The existing program can analyze slopes with up to

150 slices. The steps to be followed during the execution of the program are shown diagrammatically in

the ow chart illustrated in Fig. 5.

EXAMPLES

failed slopes in three open pit mines located in the western and central parts of Turkey (Fig. 6). All the slopes

presented in the particular and well documented case

histories were cut in jointed rock masses where the

joint spacing is a fraction of a meter. It is, therefore,

very much smaller than the scale of the cut slopes

which are tens of meters high.

An externally loaded highwall slope failure (Case 1)

The particular case history presented and described

below is concerned with the instability of a highwall in

Eskihisar strip coal mine (YataganMugla) in southwestern Turkey. No sign of instability in highwalls was

observed until 1989. During a comprehensive slope

stability research project by Ulusay [14], the highwall

of the ninth slice was found to be unstable after loading the slope by a temporary spoil pile (Fig. 7).

The failed highwall, located at the southern end of

the ninth slice, was excavated in the compact marls

which lie above the coal seam with a thickness of 15

20 m. In the failed highwall and in the entire pit, continuous cross joints are well developed within the compact marl. Except local deviations, there are three

dominant joint sets developed parallel and/or subpar-

225

allel to the normal faults crossing the Tertiary deposits. Excepting local deviations, three dominant joint

sets dipping 758858 NE and SW were identied. Their

persistence is high and reaches up to 8 m in some

places. The presence of cross joints, faults and at

lying bedding planes result in a closely jointed rock

mass. The groundwater level rises above the coal seam

into the compact marls and where seepage occurs it

tends to decline toward the compact marlcoal seam

boundary. Thus, the failed part of the investigated

slope was dry.

In the strip coal mine, the overburden rocks composed of the compact marls were evaluated based on

Bieniawski's 1989 classication [1]. The data required

for rock mass rating determinations were obtained

from the geotechnical logs recorded and the scanline

surveys carried out in accordance with the procedure

suggested by ISRM [26]. Values of RMR for the rock

mass were determined for a number of individual sections from seven fully cored geotechnical boreholes

considering drill-run lengths ranging between 1 to 3 m.

In addition, a total of seven scanline sections were also

evaluated. Joint systems show negative exponential distribution. Mean joint spacing (x) and the average number of joints per meter (l) of the rock mass were

calculated as 0.386 m and 2.59 m1, respectively. In the

compact marls overlying the coal, excepting occasional

laminated levels, spacing between bedding planes ranged 0.3 to 1 m. Discontinuity surfaces observed on the

faces of the benches were normally dry. However,

moisture appeared in some places when the surfaces

were scraped by a geologist hammer. The ranges of

the ve main parameters employed in the determination of RMR values are tabulated in Table 1. As

explained in the rst section, the adjustment rating for

discontinuity orientation was quantied on the basis of

rating with regard to the number of possible modes of

failure [16]. In this study, only one mode of failure, circular failure through the rock mass, was considered

for discontinuity orientation adjustment. Mining applications include dynamic processes. In the studied pit a

controlled blasting with a slight damage to loosen the

overburden, compact marls, is made. For this condition, a blasting damage adjustment of 0.94 [17] to

the RMR values of the compact marls was assigned.

Using the statistical methods, individual RMR values

were assessed and then RMR values ranging between

50 and 62 with a mean value of 53 were obtained. Due

to light blasting carried out in the compact marls to

loosen the overburden, disturbed rock mass condition

is considered and the value of mi (9.87) for intact rock

was calculated by linear regression analysis on the

measured triaxial data pairs from the intact rock, and

the constants m and s were found to be 0.344 and

0.0004, respectively [14]. To assess the various controls

on slope movements, the development of mobilized

shear strength and the failure mechanism under the inuence of the loads exerted by the spoil pile were

investigated by Ulusay and Aksoy [21] using determi-

226

Fig. 5. The ow chart for the proposed method of analysis code HOBRSLP.

nistic and numerical (FEM) methods. For this purpose, available monitoring record, structural data and

groundwater information were examined, and a rock

mass shear strength envelope was derived from the

HoekBrown criterion in conjunction with rock mass

classication for the highwall material. Ulusay and

Aksoy [21] back analyzed the failure utilizing four

cross-sections and indicated that the updated Hoek

Brown failure criterion used with rock mass classication gives strength values equal to those obtained by

the mobilized strength curve, and results of the back

analyses conrm the applicability of the loaded slope

model proposed for the case.

The procedure presented herein was applied to the

case summarized above. Taking into consideration the

loaded slope model (symmetrical vertical triangular

external

loading

condition),

the

program

HOBRSLP [14] was modied by the authors to incorporate external loading conditions (Fig. 8).

Considering that the predicted (based on the site observations and monitoring data) surfaces were conrmed by the calculated failure surfaces [21], four

failure surfaces given in Fig. 9 were employed in the

227

of 4.15 MPa determined from 40 test specimens for the

compact marl, and average values of unit weight of

13 kN/m3 and 16 kN/m3 were utilized for the spoil material (in-situ) and the compact marl, respectively.

For each cross-section, starting from an arbitrarily

chosen initial RMR value of 18 for the calculation of

the constant s, the values of the constant m and corresponding RMRm which satisfy a factor of safety of

unity for the given failure surfaces are calculated. The

results of the analyses are plotted in the form of

RMRmRMRs graphs (Fig. 10). It is evident from

Fig. 10(a)(d) that common values of RMR for the

constants m and s along the failure surfaces in section

1-1' is 51, along section 2-2' is 52 and along section 33' is 53. The RMR values back calculated for four failure surfaces are equal to or nearly identical to 53 and,

thus they conrm the average value of RMR (53)

obtained from the comprehensive geotechnical logging

and scanline surveys performed by Ulusay [14]. Shear

strength values calculated for the base of each slice

involved by the four failure surfaces conrmed by the

predicted surfaces (at F = 1 condition) were plotted

against normal stresses acting at the slice bases onto

the original failure envelope of the rock mass derived

from the HoekBrown failure criterion by utilizing an

average RMR value of 53 (Fig. 11(a)). This comparison indicates that the mobilized strength plots match

the original failure envelope of the investigated rock

and the method proposed gives identical results to

those obtained in a previous study by Ulusay and

Aksoy [21]. The resulting curvilinear failure envelopes

with RMR values of 5153 given in Fig. 11(b). Figure

11(b) suggest that failure envelopes for the range of

calculated normal stress levels (sn) in the back ana-

Fig. 7. Initiation of the slide in the highwall externally loaded by a spoil pile (Case 1).

228

Table 1. Range of parameters employed in rock mass classications for three cases considered in the study

Parameter

(MPa)

RQD (%)

Spacing of discontinuities (mm)

Condition of discontinuities

Groundwater

Adjustment for discontinuity

orientation

Blasting damage adjustment

Adjustment for major plane of

weakness

Adjusted RMR'76

Adjusted RMR'89

Range (mean)/description

case 1

case 2

case 3

1.146.41 (4.15)

4.206.15 (5.2)

35.444.3 (40.2)

3798

0

joints: 250410 (386) bedding: 300

3040

1000

aperture 01 mm; very thin soft

aperture 13 mm; soft inlling;

coating; planar-smooth surfaces;

slickensided surfaces; highly

fresh/slightly weathered; high

weatered; high persistence

persistence

dry-damp

one mode of failure 5

dry

one mode of failure 5

0.7

21

20.6

not determined

5062 (53)

9095

310390 (370)

apertures <1 mm and 15 mm

between bedding and joint planes,

respectively; soft coating <1 mm;

smooth-slightly rough surfaces;

fresh to slightly weathered; high

persistence

dry

one mode of failure 5

fair blasting 0.90

not determined

4047 (43)

which result from probably due to small variations in

the mechanical properties of the same rock in dierent

places.

Slope failure in a closely jointed schist rock mass at a

barite open pit mine (Case 2)

The Baskoyak mine at the central part of Turkey is

an open pit mine operated for the extraction of barite.

A comprehensive slope stability project was carried

out to determine the engineering properties of the rock

mass, and to assess the failure mechanism and the

alternatives for improving the overall stability between

1987 and 1988, and the investigation was published by

Ulusay and Yucel [27].

Based on the scanline surveys consisting of 90 schistosity and 160 joint measurements and geotechnical

logging of a borehole of 75 m deep, Ulusay and

Yucel [27] reported that the schists should be regarded

as comprising two rock mass types. The rst type consists of a schist rock mass heavily broken by closely

spaced discontinuities (Fig. 12), and the second type is

a weathered schist in dierent degrees both in the

hangingwall and footwall, particularly observed at the

Fig. 8. The model with the parameters for the slope under the inuence of a symmetrical vertical triangular spoil loading used in the

back analysis (Case 1).

schists ranges between 17.2 kN/m3 and 28.5 kN/m3

with a mean value of 22.2 kN/m3. The uniaxial compressive strength of the intact rock determined on a

limited number of specimens due to the diculties in

sample preparation was 5.2 MPa. Slope failures covering a single bench or two benches were observed at

three locations in the pit. The failures were circular

and one of them occurred in the closely jointed rock

mass. Back analysis of the failures indicated that the

calculated sliding surfaces conrm the actual failure

surfaces delineated from the site measurements [27].

No any sign of groundwater was encountered through

the geotechnical and previously drilled boreholes and

on the benches. Thus, the pit slopes was considered as

dry for stability assessments. The overburden material

and the ore are removed by the excavators without

any blasting.

The rock mass parameters of the heavily broken

part of the rock mass are given in Table 1. Ulusay and

Yucel [27] declared an RMR value of 21 in their

report based on Bieniawski's 1976 classication [28].

However, the authors of this recent study also calculated the RMR value of the rock mass based on 1989

version of the RMR classication [1] using the parameters given in Table 1 for this case. In this calculation a discontinuity adjustment of 5 considering

one mode of failure, mass failure, was assigned.

Because the presence of discrete fault zones running

very close to the failed slope, a major structure adjustment of 0.7 [17] was also considered to obtain nal

RMR value. An RMR value of 20.6 which is identical

to that derived from Bieniawski's 1976 classication

was obtained.

Utilizing the well delineated circular slip surface illustrated in Fig. 13 and the geomechanical parameters

given above, the proposed method was applied to the

failure occurred in closely jointed part of the schists.

Choosing an initial RMR value of 10 for the calcu-

229

Fig. 9. Slope proles, and the predicted and calculated failure surfaces employed in the back analyses for the loaded highwall case (Case 1).

pairs of RMRm and RMRs which lead a value of

safety factor of unity are plotted and then the

RMRRM value which satises limit equilibrium condition for the constants of m and s is found as 21

(Fig. 14(a)). Besides, on the basis of normal stresses

acting at the bottom of 10 slices in the failed mass, the

rock mass shear strength values obtained from the failure surface yielding F = 1 are plotted on the original

st curve derived from the updated HoekBrown criterion utilizing an RMR value of 21 (Fig. 14(b)).

These results indicate that the back calculated RMR

value and the mobilized shear strength plots match the

RMR derived from site investigations, and the original

Fig. 10. Back analysis plots illustrating the derivation of RMRsRMRm pairs satisfying the limit equilibrium condition for

the slope proles examined (Case 1).

230

Fig. 11. (a) Comparison between the rock mass shear strength

obtained from the back analysis and the failure envelope derived

with the HoekBrown criterion considering the average RMR value

(53) for the rock mass; (b) failure envelopes based on empirical failure criterion for mean and lower bound RMR values derived from

the proposed method (Case 1).

is concluded that the procedure outlined above also

yielded realistic results for this case.

A slope instability in a coal mine (Case 3)

As an example of the proposed method, back analysis on a typical instability was carried out in

Kisrakdere open pit mine which is located at Soma lignite basin (see Fig. 6). The necessary geotechnical data

were collected by the authors from this pit. The coal

seam is generally 20 m thick, but becomes thinner

towards the basin margins where the failed slope is

located. Figure 15(a) shows the geometry of the slope

in which a single thin coal seam with a thickness of

4.5 m is overlain by a sequence consisting of compact

marl, and soft clay beds about 10 m thick. The observations on the slope surfaces, measurements through

the blast-holes, and the records of the previously

Fig. 13. Slope geometry before and after failure and circular slip surface in closely jointed schist rock mass (Case 2).

indicated that the groundwater table lies below the

failed marly rock mass. As being in the rst case, the

coal seam acts an aquifer, and therefore, the failed

slope is dry. Bedding planes dip into opposite direction

of the slope. The marly rock which forms the majority

of the sequence has a carbonate content considerably

higher than its clay content. The actual slip surface

was in circular shape, which was evident from the eld

inspection and topographical measurements carried

out along the failure surface, and passed through the

compact marl rock mass and the clay, above the coal

seam. Because the thickness of the coal seam reduces

in this part of the pit, highly steep slopes were cut to

extract the coal. In addition to this application, it is

concluded that the presence of a weak and soft clay,

and the jointed nature of the marly rock in the

sequence made the failure easier. Scanline surveys were

carried out in the close vicinity of the failed slope to

collect data for the discontinuities and to assess rock

mass conditions. Three main joints moderately and

Fig. 12. A view from the schist rock mass heavily broken by closely spaced joints and schistosity planes at a barite open pit

mine (Case 2).

231

Fig. 14. (a) Back analysis plots illustrating the derivation of RMRs

RMRm pairs satisfying the limit equilibrium condition for the failure

in the schist; (b) comparison between the rock mass shear strength

obtained from the back analysis and the failure envelope derived

with HoekBrown criterion utilizing the RMR value (21) determined

from the site investigation (Case 2).

sequence resulted in a jointed rock mass.

In this study, Bieniawski's 1989 [1] classication

scheme was used and the data for the rock mass rating

determinations were obtained from the scanline surveys carried out at twentyve locations in the studied

pit. The range of the rock mass parameters determined

in this study is given in Table 1. It is also noted that a

discontinuity adjustment of 5 for the case of one

mode of failure and a blasting damage adjustment of

0.90 for fair blasting carried out in the compact marls,

which have considerable higher strength when compared to those mentioned in Case 1, were considered.

A histogram of RMR values based on the assessment of the line survey data (Fig. 15(b)) has a normal

form which indicates that RMR values are concentrated between 42 and 44 with a mean value of 43.

The geotechnical properties of the marl and the clay

determined by an experimental program are listed in

Table 2.

Considering the similarities between engineering

behavior of the clays in this site and the clays in a

transition zone at Yatagan coal mine, which were back

analyzed by Ulusay and Doyuran [29], the residual

Fig. 15. (a) Cross-section illustrating the geometry of the failed slope

and the position of the strata; (b) RMR histogram for the marly

rock mass (Case 3).

were assumed to be used for back analysis. The procedure presented was applied to the failed slope by utilizing data available for the site for the assessment of

shear strength parameters of the jointed marly rock

mass.

The results are presented as a plot of RMRs vs

RMRm (Fig. 16(a)). The method suggests that the

RMRRM value satisfying limit equilibrium condition is

42.5. The back calculated RMRRM value (42.5) conrms the actual RMR (43) previously determined by

the authors through the site investigations. It is also

evident from Fig. 16(b) that there is a good agreement

between the back calculated shear strengths at the base

of slices and the failure envelope derived from the

HoekBrown failure criterion utilizing the actual

RMR value of 43.

232

Table 2. Material properties employed in the black analysis of Kisrakdere open pit mine (Case 3)

Material

Marl rock mass

Soft clay

m3)

23.7

18.0

40.2

mi

cp (kPa)

cr (kPa)

fp (8)

fr (8)

9.04

17.7

14.9

21

18

fp, fr: Peak and residual internal friction angle, respectively.

U.C.S.: Uniaxial compressive strength.

CONCLUSIONS

provide functional relations between shear strength

parameters c and f for slopes of homogeneous materials with linear failure envelopes provided all the

other parameters are known. But in closely jointed

rock masses shear strength determination, particularly

due to the scale eect, is very dicult. In addition,

such back analyses have limited practical application

because these rocks obey a non-linear failure criterion.

In this study, the diculty of determining the shear

strength of such rocks and applicability of rock mass

classication to rock slopes are explained and a practical procedure with a computer solution for the back

analysis of failed slopes is put forward as a means of

Fig. 16. (a) Back analysis plots; (b) comparison between the back

analyzed shear strength and the failure envelope derived with the

HoekBrown criterion for an RMR value of 43 (Case 3).

explain existing states of stability.

This study is based on the conventional deterministic

analysis framework. However, the procedure outlined,

which is based on the HoekBrown failure criterion, is

suitable for back calculations with a maximum of

three unknown parameters (RMR and the constants m

and s), and requires iterations. The main emphasis in

this paper is the application of the method where no

procedure of direct strength or RMR measurement is

possible. The rock mass rating (RMR) of the rock and

the corresponding constants, m and s, satisfying limit

equilibrium condition can be readily obtained from a

graphic representation of the possible range of solutions.

Three examples have been given to illustrate the application of the method in practical geotechnical engineering. In the application of this approach, it was

found that the back calculated and predetermined

values of RMR with the constants m and s were identical. However, it should be kept in mind that the

classication systems which have been mainly developed for underground works may give unrealistic

results when applied to rock slopes if their limitations

are not well considered. Adjustment for the discontinuity orientation is one of the most important questionable parameter in the RMR system when it is applied

to rock slopes. Particularly in closely jointed rock

masses, which obey the non-linear HoekBrown failure

criterion, slope failures occur only in the form of a circular shape regardless of discontinuity orientation.

Therefore, in such rock masses expecting of one possible mode of failure and assignment and adjustment

value of 5 for the discontinuity orientation seems to

be more realistic. This approach was also conrmed by

the results of the stability analysis. On the other hand,

consideration of the factors such as method of excavation, major planes of weakness and change in stress

which inuence the rock mass at a particular location

and thus an adjustment for these factors become

necessary in rock mass classication applied to rock

slopes. It is also noted that the HoekBrown failure

criterion in conjunction with the RMR classication

system is only applicable to intact rock or to closely

jointed rock masses, otherwise unrealistic results may

be obtained.

Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the

method seems to be a practical tool for back analyzing

of slopes in jointed rock masses and to check the rock

mass rating obtained from site and laboratory investi-

development of possible modications in describing

the rock mass parameters particularly for the slopes, if

necessary.

A better understanding of the mechanics of jointed

rock mass behavior is a problem of major signicance

in geotechnical engineering. The authors believe that

the HoekBrown failure criterion provides a good estimate for the shear strength of jointed rock masses.

However, the authors hope that the application of the

proposed method on various failure case histories in

the future may lead to provide a better tool for more

precise input data and to check the equations

employed by the non-linear failure criterion.

AcknowledgementsThe authors express their gratitude to Professor

Evert Hoek of Canada, and to Professor Hasan Gercek of

Karaelmas University, Turkey for their valuable comments and suggestions in preparing the manuscript.

Accepted for publication 26 November 1997

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