Cascade effect of rock bridge failure in planar rock slides: numerical test with a distinct element code

Delonca, Adeline; Gunzburger, Yann; Verdel, Thierry

Plane failure along inclined joints is a classical mechanism involved in rock slope movements. It is known that the number, size and position of rock bridges along the potential failure plane are of prime importance when assessing slope stability. However, the rock bridge failure phenomenology itself has not been comprehensively understood up to now. In this study, the propagation cascade effect of rock bridge failure leading to catastrophic block sliding is studied and the influence of rock bridge position in regard to the rockfall failure mode (shear or tension) is highlighted. Numerical modelling using the distinct element method (UDEC, Itasca) is undertaken in order to assess the stability of a 10 minline-formula3 rock block lying on an inclined joint with a dip angle of 40 or 80inline-formula. The progressive failure of rock bridges is simulated assuming a Mohr–Coulomb failure criterion and considering stress transfers from a failed bridge to the surrounding ones. Two phases of the failure process are described: (1) a stable propagation of the rock bridge failures along the joint and (2) an unstable propagation (cascade effect) of rock bridge failures until the block slides down. Additionally, the most critical position of rock bridges has been identified. It corresponds to the top of the rock block for a dip angle of 40inline-formula and to its bottom for an angle of 80inline-formula.

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Delonca, Adeline / Gunzburger, Yann / Verdel, Thierry: Cascade effect of rock bridge failure in planar rock slides: numerical test with a distinct element code. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Adeline Delonca et al.

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