A combined remote sensing–numerical modelling approach to the stability analysis of Delabole Slate Quarry, Cornwall, UK
Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Reason for embargo
12 month publisher embargo
Rock slope geometry and discontinuity properties are among the most important factors in realistic rock slope analysis yet they are often oversimplified in numerical simulations. This is primarily due to the difficulties in obtaining accurate structural and geometrical data as well as the stochastic representation of discontinuities. Recent improvements in both digital data acquisition and incorporation of discrete fracture network data into numerical modelling software have provided better tools to capture rock mass characteristics, slope geometries and digital terrain models allowing more effective modelling of rock slopes. Advantages of using improved data acquisition technology include safer and faster data collection, greater areal coverage, and accurate data geo-referencing far exceed limitations due to orientation bias and occlusion. A key benefit of a detailed point cloud dataset is the ability to measure and evaluate discontinuity characteristics such as orientation, spacing/intensity and persistence. This data can be used to develop a discrete fracture network (DFN) which can be imported into the numerical simulations to study the influence of the stochastic nature of the discontinuities on the failure mechanism. We demonstrate the application of digital terrestrial photogrammetry in discontinuity characterization and distinct element simulations within a slate quarry. An accurately georeferenced photogrammetry model is used to derive the slope geometry and to characterize geological structures. We first show how a discontinuity dataset, obtained from a photogrammetry model can be used to characterize discontinuities and to develop discrete fracture networks. A deterministic three dimensional distinct element model is then used to investigate the effect of some key input parameters (friction angle, spacing and persistence) on the stability of the quarry slope model. Finally, adopting a stochastic approach, discrete fracture networks are used as input for 3D distinct element simulations to better understand the stochastic nature of the geological structure and its effect on the quarry slope failure mechanism. The numerical modelling results highlight the influence of discontinuity characteristics and kinematics on the slope failure mechanism and the variability in the size and shape of the failed blocks.
The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00603-015-0805-z
Published online 8 August 2015