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# 3/13/2015

Plane Failure

Prof. K. G. Sharma
Department of Civil Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India

Plane Failure
A plane failure is a comparatively rare sight in rock slopes because it is
only occasionally that all the geometric conditions required to produce such
a failure occur in an actual slope.
Wedge type failure is common.
Understanding of Plane Failure (2D Case) facilitates understanding Wedge
Failure which is a 3D Case.
Case

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## Plane Failure: 5 General Conditions

1. The plane on which sliding occurs must strike parallel or
nearly parallel (within approximately 20) to the slope
face
2. The sliding plane must daylight in the slope face, which
means that the dip
p of the failure p
plane must be less than

## the dip of the slope face, that is

p < f or f > p
3. The dip of the sliding plane must be greater than the
angle of friction of this plane, that is, p >
Thus f > p >
4. The upper end of the sliding surface either intersects the
upper slope, or terminates in a tension crack.
5. Release surfaces that provide negligible resistance to
sliding must be present in the rock mass to define the
lateral boundaries of the slide.
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## Plane Failure: Assumptions

1. Both sliding surface and tension crack strike parallel to
the slope.
2. The tension crack is vertical and is filled with water to a
depth zw.
3. Water enters the sliding surface along the base of the
tension crack and seeps along the sliding surface,
escaping at atmospheric pressure where the sliding
surface daylights in the slope face.
4. The forces W (the weight of the sliding block), U (uplift
force due to water pressure on the sliding surface) and V
(force due to water pressure in the tension crack) all act
through the centroid of the sliding mass.
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W
V
U

## In other words, it is assumed that there are no

moments that would tend to cause rotation of the
block, and hence failure is by sliding only.
While this assumption may not be strictly true for
actual slopes, the errors introduced by ignoring
moments are small enough to neglect.
However, in steep slopes with steeply dipping
discontinuities, the possibility of toppling failure
should be kept in mind.
7

## Plane Failure: Assumptions

5. The shear strength of the sliding surface is defined by
cohesion c and friction angle that are related by the
equation = c + tan .
In the case of a rough surface or a rock mass having a
curvilinear shear strength
g
envelope,
p , the apparent
pp
cohesion and apparent friction angle are defined by a
tangent that takes into account the normal stress
acting on the sliding surface.
The normal stress can be determined from

((

2
1 (z / H ) cot p cot f

=
H
2(1 z / H )

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Sliding Plane

## Plane Failure: Assumptions

6. In analyzing two-dimensional slope problems, it is usual
to consider a slice of unit thickness taken at right angles
to the slope face.
This means that on a vertical section through the
slope,
p , the area of the sliding
g surface can be
represented by the length of the surface, and the
volume of the sliding block is represented by the
cross-section area of the block.

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## Plane Failure Analysis

Geometry of the Slope: The Cross-section of Slope
Two Cases:
a. Slope with a tension crack in its upper surface
b Slope
b.
Sl
with
ith a tension
t i crackk in
i its
it face
f
Transition from one case to another case occurs when tension
crack coincides with slope crest, i.e., when
z
= (1 cot f tan p )
H

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## Depth of tension cracks

Joint properties

Seasonal pore
pressure variations

Cohesion deterioration in
regions of high stresses

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## Plane Slope Failure Factor of Safety

Forces acting on the Slope are resolved Parallel and Normal
to the Sliding Plane.
The vector sum of Shear Forces S acting down the plane is
th Driving
the
Dri ing Force
The sum of Normal Forces acting on the plane is N. The
product of the total normal forces, N and the tangent
of the friction angle , plus the cohesive force is
termed the Resisting force
Factor of Safety FS is defined as
FS =

=
Driving Force
S

## where c is Cohesion, A is area of sliding plane, is angle of

friction of sliding plane.

V sin p

V
p

V cos p
W sin p

W cos p

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## Plane Slope Failure Factor of Safety

For the Slope with Weight W, and Water Forces U and V,
FS =

## cA + (W cos p U V sin p )tan

W sin p + V cos p

## where A, U and V are given by

A = (H + b tan s z ) cos ec p
1
U = w z w (H + b tan s z ) cos ec p
2
1
V = w z w2
2

## H is slope height, z is tension crack depth, b is the distance behind

the slope crest, s is dip of upper slope, zw is depth of water in
tension crack, and w is unit weight of water.

## Plane Slope Failure Factor of Safety

Weight of Sliding Block, W
i) For tension crack in upper slope surface

1
W = r (1 cott f tan
t p ) bH + H 2 cott f + b 2 (tan
t s tan
t p )
2

## ii) For tension crack in slope face

2

1
z
2
W = r H 1 cot p (cot p tan f 1)
2
H

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## Influence of Water Depth on Factor of Safety

Slope with following Data:
Height H = 100 ft
Slope face angle f = 60
Upper surface horizontal: s = 0
Sliding plane dip p = 30
Tension crack 29 ft behind the Crest of the slope
Tension crack depth z = 50 ft
Unit weight of rock r = 160 lb/ft3
Unit weight of water w = 62.5 lb/ft3
Cohesion of plane c = 1000 lb/ft2
Friction angle = 30
We have to evaluate the influence of water depth zw on FS.

## Influence of Water Depth on Factor of Safety

We take zw/z = 1.0, 0.5 and 0 and compute the factor of safety FS.
zw/z
FS

1.0
0.77

0.5
1.10

0
1.34

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## Graphical Analysis of Stability

Steps
a. Obtain the lengths H, X, D, A, z and zw as shown in the
figure.
b Calculate
b.
C l l the
h forces
f
W,
W U,
U V andd cA.
A
c. Select a suitable scale and construct the Force Diagram.
d. Draw vertical line to represent the Weight W.
e. At right angles to the line for W, draw a line to represent V.
f. Measure the angle p with vertical and draw a line to
represent U.
g Project the line representing U by dashed line and from
g.
upper point of line for W, construct a line perpendicular to
the projection of U line.

## Graphical Analysis of Stability

Slope Geometry and Equations for W, U and W

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Force Diagram

## Graphical Analysis of Stability

Steps
h. From the upper end of U line, draw a line at an angle and
Length f represents the Friction force which resists sliding
along the failure plane.
i. The cohesion resisting force cA can be drawn along the f
line.
j. The length of the line marked S is total Driving force.
k. Factor of safety FS is given by the ratio of lengths (f + cA)
to S.

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## 1. It has been assumed that it is only the water present in the

tension crack and along the sliding surface that influences the
stability of the slope.
2 This
2.
Thi is
i equivalent
i l
to assuming
i that
h the
h rest off the
h rock
k mass is
i
impermeable, an assumption that is certainly not always
justified.
3. Under some conditions, it may be possible to construct a flow
net from which the ground water pressure distribution can be
determined from the intersection of the equipotential lines
25 sliding surface.
with the

## Ground Water Pressure in Plane Slope Failure

Dry Slope Condition
Simplest Case in which the slope is assumed to be drained. This
means there is no water pressure in tension crack or along the sliding
surface:
f
U = V = 00.
There may be moisture in the slope but as long as no pressure is
generated, it will not influence the stability of slope.
Then factor of safety will be

FS =

cA
+ cott p tan
t
W sin p

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## Ground Water Pressure in Plane Slope Failure

Water in Tension Crack Only
A heavy rain storm after a long dry spell can result in the rapid buildup of water pressure in the tension crack, unless effective drainage has
been provided.
provided V 0.
0
The uplift pressure U can be reduced to zero or nearly zero if the
remainder of rock mass is relatively impermeable, or the sliding
surface contains a low impermeable clay filling. U = 0.

FS =

W sin
i p + V cos p

## Ground Water Pressure in Plane Slope Failure

Water in Tension Crack and on Sliding Surface
When ground water discharge at the face occurs. Water Pressure is
assumed to decrease linearly from base of tension Crack to zero at
th face.
the
f
This
Thi water
t pressure distribution
di t ib ti is
i probably
b bl muchh simpler
i l
than that which occurs in an actual slope and which is unknown.
This assumed water pressure is as reasonable as any other which
could be assumed.

FS =

## cA + (W cos p U V sin p )tan

W sin p + V cos p

## Ground water level is above

the base of tension crack so
water pressures act both in the
tension crack and on the
sliding plane.

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## Ground Water Pressure in Plane Slope Failure

Saturated Slope with Heavy Recharge
If the rock mass is heavily fractured (relatively permeable), a
ground flow pattern similar to porous system could occur. It has
b
been
ffound
d th
thatt the
th factor
f t off safety
f t off a permeable
bl slope,
l
saturated
t t d
by heavy rain and subjected to surface recharge by continued rain,
can be approximated by the equation

FS =

## cA + (W cos p U V sin p )tan

W sin p + V cos p

## assuming that the tension crack

is water-filled, i.e., zw = z.

## Ground Water Pressure in Plane Slope Failure

Uniform Pressure on Sliding Plane
Occurs when ground water discharge at the
face may be blocked by freezing. Water
Pressure can build in sliding plane and the
Rectangular distribution is assumed with
Uplift force U given by

U = Ap
where p = w zw
S h extreme
Such
t
water
t pressure
Conditions may occur from
time to time and should be
considered in the design.

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## Ground Water Pressure in Plane Slope Failure

Triangular Pressure on Sliding Plane
Occurs when water table is below
the base of tension crack.
Uplift force U is given by

U=

1 zw
hw w
2 sin p

## Effect of z and zw on Factor of Safety

Slope with following Data:
Height H = 100 ft
Slope face angle f = 60
Sliding plane dip p = 30
Unit weight of rock r = 160 lb/ft3
Unit weight of water w = 62.5 lb/ft3
Cohesion of plane c = 1000 lb/ft2
Friction angle = 30
The tension crack depth z and Water depth in crack zw are
varied and FS is calculated for each case and plotted in
the figure.
When the slope is dry or nearly dry (zw=0), FS reaches a
Minimum value corresponding to z=0.42H for the data
considered.

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## Effect of z and zw on Factor of Safety

Once the water level zw > z/4, the FS does not reach a minimum
until the tension crack is water-filled (zw = z) and the minimum
FS is when the water-filled tension crack is coincident with the
crest (b =0)
0).
The field observations suggest that the tension cracks usually
occur behind the crest of the slope and they occur as a result of
movement in a dry or nearly dry slope.
If this tension crack becomes water-filled due to subsequent rain,
the influence of the water ppressure will be as discussed earlier.
The depth and location of tension crack are independent of
ground water conditions.

Effect of z and zw on FS

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## Critical Tension Crack Depth & Location

Usually tension crack position is known from visible trace on the
upper surface or on the face of the slope.
Many times, tension crack position may be unknown due to
presence of overburden. Therefore, it becomes necessary to
consider the most probable position of a tension crack.
When the slope is dry or nearly dry (zw/z=0), then factor of safety
is
cA
FS =
+ cot p tan
W sin p
The critical tension crack depth zc is found by minimizing FS with
respect to z/H.
/ Then
h zc and
d position
i i bc are given
i
by
b

zc
= 1 cot f tan p
H
bc
= cot f cot p cot f
H

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## Critical Tension Crack Depth & Location

If the tension crack occurs during heavy rain or if it is located on a
pre-existing geological feature such as vertical joint, the above two
equations do not apply for depth and location of tension crack.
In these circumstances, when the tension crack position and depth
are unknown, the only reasonable procedure is to assume that the
tension crack is coincident with the slope crest and that it is waterfilled.
The tension crack is caused by shear movements in the slope (Model
studies by Barton). Thus when a tension crack becomes visible in the
surface of slope, it must be assumed that shear failure has initiated
within the rock mass.
This is only the start of a very complex progressive failure process.
The presence of tension crack should be taken as an indication of
potential instability- requires detailed investigation.

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## Critical Slide Plane Inclination

When a persistent discontinuity such as a bedding plane exists
in a slope and the inclination of this discontinuity is such that it
satisfies the conditions for pplane failure,, stabilityy of the slope
p will
be controlled by this feature.
Where no such feature exists and a sliding surface, if it were to
occur, would follow minor geological features and, in some
places, pass through intact material, how can the inclination of
such a failure path be determined?
In weak/soft rock slopes or a soil slope with a face angle
f<45, failure surface would have a Circular shape.

## Critical Slide Plane Inclination

In steep rock slopes, the slide surface is approximately planar
and the inclination of such a plane can be found by partial
differentiation of equation for FS with respect to p and putting
equal to zero.
zero For dry slopes,
slopes this gives a critical failure plane
inclination pc as
pc =

1
( f + )
2

## The presence of water in the tension crack will cause the

sslide
de pplanee inclination
c
o too be reduced
educed by ass much
uc ass 10%.
0%. But
u in
view of the uncertainties associated with the inclination of this
slide surface, above equation for dry slope can be used to
obtain an estimate of the critical slide plane inclination in steep
slopes that do not contain through-going discontinuities.

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## Analysis of Failure on a Rough Plane

We assumed linear relationship between shear strength and
effective normal stress- Mohr-Coulomb Strength Criterion.
= c + tan
Most rock surfaces exhibit a non-linear relationship between
shear strength and effective normal stress. This is because of
rough surfaces.
The friction angle will decrease with increasing normal stress
as the asperities on the surface are ground off.
For a dry slope (U=V=0), the normal stress acting on the
slidingg surface is ggiven byy
=

W cos p
A

## Analysis of Failure on a Rough Plane

If the sliding plane contains no cohesive infilling and using
Bartons Strength criterion, Factor of Safety FS for dry slope
(U=V=0) is given by
FS =
=
=
=

A
W sin p

## tan ( + JRC log10 (JCS / ))A

W sin p
tan ( + JRC log10 ( JCS / ))
tan p
tan ( + i )
tan p

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## Analysis of Failure on a Rough Plane

Consider a slope with dimensions
H = 30m, z = 15m,
p = 30 and f = 60, in which the properties
of the clean rough joint forming the sliding surface
are = 25, JRC = 15 and JCS = 5000 kPa and
Unit weight of rock r = 26 kN/m3.
Normal stress = 281 kPa
Shear stress = 269 kPa
+ i = 44
FS = 1.66
However, the maximum stress is acting below the crest of the
slope where depth = 20 m. The calculated maximum stress is
max = 20 x 26 x cos(30) = 450 kPa
Shear stress = 387 kPa, +i=41, FS = 1.49
Therefore, FS decreases as the normal stress increases.

## Analysis of Failure on a Rough Plane

For a slope with tension crack and water, normal stress is
given by
=

W cos p U V sin p
A

## and Factor of Safety FS is given by

FS =

A
W sin p + V cos p

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Reinforcement of a Slope
When it has been established that a slope is potentially unstable, it
becomes necessary to consider whether it is possible to stabilize
the slope by drainage or external loads (reinforcement).
R i f
Reinforcement
t may be
b an effective
ff ti method
th d off improving
i
i the
th
factor of safety.
Methods of reinforcement
Tensioned anchors
Fully grouted, untensioned dowels
Construction of a toe buttress.
Factors influencing the selection of an appropriate system are
Site geology
Required capacity of the reinforcement force
Drilling equipment availability and access
Time required for construction.

Reinforcement of a Slope
With rock anchors, it is necessary to decide if they should be
anchored at the distal end and tensioned, or fully grouted and
untensioned.
Untensioned dowels are less costly to install, but they will provide
less reinforcement than tensioned anchors of the same dimensions,
dimensions
and their capacity cannot be tested.
One technical factor influencing the selection is that if a slope has
relaxed and loss of interlock has occurred on the sliding plane, then
it is advisable to install tensioned anchors to apply normal and
shear forces on the sliding plane.
If the reinforcement can be installed before the excavation takes
place, then fully grouted dowels are effective in reinforcing the
slope by preventing relaxation on potential sliding surfaces.
Untensioned dowels can also be used where the rock is randomly
jointed and there is a need to reinforce the overall slope.

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## Reinforcement with Tensioned Anchors

A tensioned anchor installation involves drilling a hole extending
below the sliding plane, installing a rock bolt or strand cable that
is bonded into the stable portion of the slope, and then tensioning
th anchor
the
h against
i t the
th face.
f
The tension in the anchor T modifies the normal and shear forces
acting on the sliding plane, and the factor of safety of the
anchored slope is given by

FS =

## cA + (W cos p U V sin p + T sin ( T + p )) tan

W sin p + V cos p T cos( T + p )

the horizontal.

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## Reinforcement with Tensioned Anchors

The normal component of the anchor tension, T sin(p + T), has
the effect of increasing the shear resistance to sliding.
Also, the shear component of the anchor tension, T cos(p + T),
acting
ti up the
th sliding
lidi plane
l
is
i subtracted
bt t d from
f
the
th driving
d i i forces,
f
so the combined effect of the anchor force is to improve the factor
of safety (if (p + T) < 90).
The factor of safety of a slope reinforced with tensioned rock
anchors varies with the inclination of the bolt. The most efficient
angle (T(opt)) for a tensioned rock bolt is when

= ( T ( opt ) + p ) or T ( opt ) = ( p )

## This relationship shows that the optimum installation angle for a

tensioned bolt is flatter than the normal to the sliding plane.

## Reinforcement with Tensioned Anchors

In practice, cement grouted anchors are installed at about 1015
below the horizontal to facilitate grouting, while resin grouted
anchors may be installed in up-holes.
It should be noted that bolts installed at an angle steeper than the
normal to the sliding plane (i.e. (p + T) > 90) can be
detrimental to stability because the shear component of the
tension, acting down the plane, increases the magnitude of the
displacing force.

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## Reinforcement with Untensioned Grouted Dowels

Fully grouted, untensioned dowels comprise steel bars installed in
holes drilled across the potential sliding plane, which are then
encapsulated in cement or resin grout. The steel acts as a rigid
shear ppin across anyy pplane of weakness in the rock.
Shear displacement on the joint causes deformation of the bolt
that takes place in three stages as follows:
Elastic Stage, Yield Stage, and Plastic Stage
Spang and Egger (1990):
The shear resistance Rb (kN) of a dowelled joint is given by

## Rb = t ( s ) 1.55 + 0.011 ci1.07 sin

i 2 ( + i ) ci0.14 (0.85 + 0.45 tan )
The unit of t(s) (tensile strength of steel bar) is kN and that of ci
is kPa.

Strain in fully grouted steel dowel due to shear movement along joint

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## Reinforcement with Untensioned Grouted Dowels

The corresponding displacement s of a dowelled joint is given by

S = (15.2 55.2 ci0.14 + 56.2 ci0.28 ) 1 tan (70 / c )0.125 (cos )0.5

## In the stability analysis of a plane failure in which fully grouted

dowels have been installed across the sliding plane, the factor of
safety is modified as follows to account for the increased shear
resistance to sliding:

FS =

cA + N tan + Rb
S

## Reinforcement of Slope with Buttresses

Larger scale support can be provided by placing a waste rock
buttress at the toe of the slope. The support provided by such a
buttress depends on the buttress weight, and the shear resistance
ggenerated alongg the base of the buttress that is a function of the
weight of the rock, and the roughness and inclination of the base.
This method can only be used, of course, if there is sufficient
space at the toe to accommodate the required volume of rock.
It is also important that the waste rock be free draining so that
water pressures do not build up behind the buttress.

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## Pseudo-Static Stability Analysis

The factor of safety of a plane failure of dry slope with
horizontal seismic coefficient kH is
FS =

## cA + (W (cos p k H sin p ))tan

W (sin p + k H cos p )

## If the vertical coefficient is kV then the resultant seismic

coefficient kT is

kT = k H2 + kV2
acting at an angle k = tan-1(kV/kH) above the horizontal, and
factor of safety is given by
FS =

## cA + (W (cos p kT sin ( p + k ))) tan

W (sin p + kT cos( p + k ))

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BlockSlidingonClayLayers
In mining a horizontal bedded coal deposit, sliding of blocks of
materials on clay seams occurs during high rainfall.
The clay seams have a high montmorillonite content and are
slickensided
li k id d by
b previous
i
shear
h displacements.
di l
t Therefore,
Th f
shear
h
strength parameters of c=0 and =10 are considered
appropriate.
Geometry of the Block with Horizontal Clay Seam
H is the height of the block
f is the angle of the face of the block
B is the distance of a vertical crack behind the crest of slope
zw is the depth of water in tension crack
W is the weight of the block
V is the horizontal force due to water in tension crack
U is the uplift force due to water pressure at base

## The factor of safety is given by

F=

(W U ) tan
V

where
1
W = r BH + r H 2 cot f
2
1
U = w z w (B + H cot f )
2
1
V = w z w2
2

F=

((2 B / H + cot )
f

/ r .z w / H .b / H (1 + cot f ))tan

w / r .( z w / H )2

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Sensitivity of FS to zw
Sensitivity of water depth
in tension crack is evident.
Thus drainage should do a
great deal to improve the
stability of the block.
block
Horizontal holes through
the base of the block.
Not the quantity of the
water but the water pressure
in the tension crack is
important.
p
Increase in weight W improves
the stability. Increase in B/H
Ratio or increase in f
increases FS.

PlaneFailure AnalysisandStabilization
A 12m high rock slope has been excavated at a face angle of 60.
The rock contains persistent bedding planes that dip at an angle of
35 into the excavation. The 4.35 m deep tension crack is 4 m
behind the crest,, and is filled with water to a height
g of 3 m above
the sliding surface. Strength parameters of sliding surface are
cohesion c = 25 kPa and friction angle = 37. r = 26 kN/m3 and
w = 9.81 kN/m3.
Weight of Block W = 1241 kN/m
Area of the sliding plane A = 13.34 m2/m
(i) Water forces acting on the Block with zw = 3 m:
U = 196.31 kN/m & V = 44.15 kN/m
FS =

## cA + (W cos p U V sin p ) tan

W sin p + V cos p

= 1.25

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PlaneFailureGeometry

PlaneFailure AnalysisandStabilization
(ii) With zw = z = 4.35 m
U = 284.57 kN/m & V = 44.15 kN/m
FS = 1.07 (Slope close to failure)
(iii) If the slope is drained (zw = 0),
FS = 1.54

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PlaneFailure AnalysisandStabilization
(iv) If slope is drained and cohesion reduced from 25 kPa to
zero by blast vibrations, then the factor of safety is
FS = 1.08
Th loss
The
l
off cohesion
h i reduces
d
FS ffrom 11.54
54 tto 11.08,
08 which
hi h
illustrates the sensitivity of slope to cohesion on sliding
plane.
(v) The critical tension crack depth is
zc
= 1 cot f tan p = 0.36
H

## with zc = 4.32 m which is close to z = 4.35 m.

PlaneFailure AnalysisandStabilization
Slope Reinforcement with Rock Bolts
(i) With c = U = V = 0 and T = 400 kN/m at a dip angle of
T = 55
FS =

(W cos

+ T sin ( T + p )) tan

= 1 .5
W sin p T cos( T + p )
(ii) If the bolts are installed at flatter angle T = 20,
FS = 2.1
This shows the significant improvement that can be achieved by
installing bolts at an angle flatter than the normal to the sliding
surface.
The optimum angle is when
Topt = ( p) = 2 and FS = 2.41.
p

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PlaneFailure AnalysisandStabilization
Slope Reinforcement with Rock Bolts
(iii) The rock bolt pattern should be laid out so that the distribution
off bolts
b lt on th
the slope
l
iis as even as possible.
ibl If four
f
bolts
b lt are
installed in each vertical row, the horizontal spacing S of the
vertical rows is calculated as follows:

S=

TB n kN 240 4
= 2 .4 m

=
T kN/m
400

## where bolt capacity TB is 240 kN.

Provide bolts at a spacing of 2.5 m.

EXAMPLE-1
Stability of porphyry slopes in a Spanish open pit mine
The Atalaya pit was 260 m deep and porphyry slopes, inclined at an
overall angle of 45 as shown in figure appeared to be stable . The
proposedd mine
i plan
l called
ll d for
f deepening
d
i the
h pit
i to in
i excess off
300 m . The problem was to decide whether the slope would remain
stable at the proposed mining depth of 300 m.
In order to establish the theoretical relationship between slope
height and slope angle , the following assumptions are made:
1. No dominant failure plane. It was assumed that failure would be
on a composite planar surface inclined at p = 0.5 ( f + )
2. From the shear strength data a friction angle = 35 was chosen.

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EXAMPLE-1
3. The porphyry slopes were assumed to be fully drained and it was
assumed that the tension would occur in all slopes. The depth of
tension crack can be found out using
z
= (1 cot f tan p )
H

## 4. Taking unit weight of rock as = 2.95 tonnes/m3, the Factor of

safety can be can be calculated from the formula:
FS =

cA + W cos p tan
W sin p

z/H

85

60

0.610 1.28c(F0.404)

80

57.5

## 0.474 1.58c (F0.446)

70

52.5

0.311 2.25c(F0.537)

60

47.5

0.206 3.30c(F0.641)

50

42.5

0.123 5.54c(F0.764)

40

37.5

0.044 152c(F0.913)

TypicalSectionintheAtalaya OpenPitatRioTinto

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The problem is now to find the cohesion value which gives the best
fit for a limiting curve (F=1) passing through the slope height /
slope angle points for unstable slopes. The two points at f=61 and
66 and H=40m and 35m are ignored as these are individual bench
failures.
A number of trial calculations showed that best fit for the F=1 curve
to the seven failure points shown in Figure is given by cohesive
strength c = 14 tonnes/m2.
The shear strength relationship defined by c=14 tonnes/m2 and
=35 is plotted in the figure, which also shows peak and residual
strength values determined by shear testing at Imperial College. The
calculation of parameters c=14 tonnes/m2 and =35 by back
analysis fall between the peak and residual shear strength values
determined in laboratory.

SlopeHeightvs
SlopeAnglefor
PorphyrySlopes

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ShearStrengthRelationshipofPorphyry

## Substitution of the value of c=14 tonnes/m2 gives the curves for

different factor of safety which have been plotted in the figure.
By counting the number of points falling between factor of safety
increments, it is possible to construct the histogram reproduced in
g
This histogram
g
confirms that the seven unstable slopes
p
the figure.
are clustered around a factor of safety FS= 1 while the stable slopes
show a peak between 1.3 and 1.4.
It is important to note that this analysis deals with the stability of
overall pit slope and not with possible failure of individual benches.
Small bench failures are not particularly important in large pits
provided that they do not influence the haul roads.

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Histogram

EXAMPLE-2
Investigation of the stability of a limestone quarry face
A hillside limestone quarry in the Mendip Hills in England.
Failure occurred in 1968 after a week or more of steady soaking
rain saturated the area, followed by an exceptionally heavy
downpour which flooded the upper quarry floor filling an existing
tension crack in the slope crest.
The failure is basically two-dimensional, the sliding surface being a
bedding plane striking parallel to slope crest and dipping into the
excavation at 20. A vertical crack existed 41 feet behind the slope
crest at the time of failure. Geometry shown in the figure.
In order to provide the shear strength data for the analysis of slope
stability of the existing slope in 1970, it was decided to analyse the
1968 failure by means of Graphical method.
Linear shear strength relationship was assumed.

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EXAMPLE-2
Investigation of the stability of a limestone quarry face
Assuming rock density = 0.08 tons/ft3 and a water density = 0.031
tons/ft3 :
Weight of sliding mass, W = 0.5 (XH Dz) = 404.8 tons/ft
Horizontal water force,
force V = 0.5
0 5 w zw2 = 65
65.5
5 tons/ ft
Uplift of water force, U = 0.5 w zw A = 110.8 tons/ft
From the force diagram, the shear strength can be determined and
this is plotted in figure.
From an examination of 1968 failure surface, it was concluded that
the friction angle was probably 205. This range of friction angle
and corresponding cohesion are used for further analysis.
The range of shear strength mobilized in 1968 failure are used to
check the stability of 210 ft high slopes for the new plant
installation.

Geometryof1968Failure

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EstimationofShearStrengthMobilizedin1968Failure

EXAMPLE-2
Investigation of the stability of a limestone quarry face
The geometry of 210 ft high slope and the typical force diagrams
for dry and saturated slopes are shown in figures assuming a slope
face angle f = 50 and a friction angle = 25.
Factor of safety for dry and saturated slopes with different slope
face angles is shown in the figure. Full lines are for a friction angle
=20 while the dashed lines are for 5 variation.
It is evident that 58 slopes are unstable under heavy rainfall
conditions which caused 1968 failure. Drainage of the slope,
particularly the control of surface water entering tension crack is
very beneficial. It cannot be fully assured.
Therefore the slopes should be benched back to an overall slope of
45 with drainage measures.

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GeometryofOverallSlope

ForceDiagramforDesignofOverallQuarrySlopes

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FactorofSafetyforDry&SaturatedSlopeswith
DifferentFaceAngles

ChoiceofRemedialMeasuresforPlaneFailure
A 60 m high cut had an overall face angle of 50, made up of
three, 20 m high benches with face angles of 70.
Due to a small slide in a nearby slope, concern has been
expressedd that
th t a major
j slide
lid off the
th cutt slope
l
could
ld occur
resulting in serious damage to an important civil engineering
structure at the foot of the cut.
An assessment was required of the short- and the long-term
stability of the cut, and recommendations for appropriate
remedial measures, if necessary.
No previous geological and geotechnical investigation done
done.
The site in an area of high rainfall intensity and low seismicity.
A horizontal seismic coefficient, H of 0.08g has been
suggested.

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ChoiceofRemedialMeasuresforPlaneFailure
The cut is in slightly weathered granite containing several sets
of steeply dipping joints, and sheet jointing that dipped at 35
and formed the natural slopes in the area.
J i t Orientation
Joint
O i t ti Data
D t obtained
bt i d based
b d on surface
f
mapping,
i
Reasonable because of the extensive rock exposure in the cut
face and natural slopes.
Feature
Overallslopeface

Dip()

DipDirection()

50

200

Individual benches
Individualbenches

70

200

Sheetjoint

35

190

JointsetJ1

80

233

JointsetJ2

80

040

JointsetJ3

70

325

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ChoiceofRemedialMeasuresforPlaneFailure
The stereoplot of the joint data is prepared including a friction
circle of 35.
Although the three joint sets provided a number of steep release
surfaces,
f
which
hi h would
ld allow
ll bl
blocks
k to
t separate
t from
f
the
th rockk
mass, none of their lines of intersection fall within the zone
designated as potentially unstable in the stereoplot.
The great circle representing the sheet joints passes through the
zone of potential instability. The dip direction of the sheet joints
is close to that of the cut face, so the most likely failure mode
was a plane slide on the sheet joints in the direction indicated on
the stereoplot.
Both the overall cut and the individual benches were potentially
unstable, and it was necessary to carry out further analysis of
both.

Stereonet PlotofGeologicalDatafortheSlope

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ChoiceofRemedialMeasuresforPlaneFailure
Rock Shear Strength
No information was available on the shear strength of the sheet
joints forming the potential sliding surface.
The strength values used in design were estimated from
previous experience of the stability of slopes in granite.
Heavily kaolinized granites exhibit friction values in the range
of 3545 because of the angular nature of the mineral grains.
The cohesion of these surfaces was likely to be variable
depending on the degree of weathering of the surface and the
persistence of the joints; a cohesion range of 50200 kPa was
selected.

ChoiceofRemedialMeasuresforPlaneFailure
Ground Water Conditions
No boreholes in the slope, the subsurface ground water
conditions were unknown.
Th site
The
it was in
i an area that
th t experienced
i
d periods
i d off intense
i t
rainfall, it was expected that significant transient ground water
pressures would develop in the slope following these events.

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ChoiceofRemedialMeasuresforPlaneFailure
Stability Analysis
Because of the presence of three steeply dipping joint sets, there
was a strong possibility of a tension crack forming on these
di
discontinuities
ti iti behind
b hi d the
th crestt off the
th cut.
t
One possible failure mode was that illustrated as Model I.
This theoretical model assumed that a tension crack occurred in
the dry state in the most critical position, and that this crack
filled to depth zw with water during a period of exceptionally
heavy rain.
A simultaneous earthquake subjected the slope to ground
motion that was simulated with a horizontal seismic coefficient
kH of 0.08.

ChoiceofRemedialMeasuresforPlaneFailure
Stability Analysis Model I
The factor of safety of this slope for pseudo-static horizontal
FS =

## cA + (W (cos p k H sin p ) U V sin p ) tan

W (sin p + k H cos p ) + V cos p

A = (H z )cos ec p

((

1
2
W = r H 2 1 ( z / H ) cot p cot f
2
1
U = w zw A
2

1
V = w z w2
2

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ModelIforPlaneSlopeFailure

ChoiceofRemedialMeasuresforPlaneFailure
Stability Analysis Model II
To allow for the possible presence of substantial sub-surface
water, an alternative theoretical model (Model II) was
by
cA + (W (cos p k H sin p ) U ) tan
FS =
W (sin p + k H cos p )

A = H cos ec p
1
W = r H 2 (cot p cot f )
2
1
U = w H w2 cos ec p
4

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ModelIIforPlaneSlopeFailure

## Summary of input data is as follows and the factors of safety

of the slopes were calculated by substituting these values.
Parameter

Value

Cut height, Hc

60 m

50

70

Bench height, Hb

20 m

35

15.4 m

## Distance to tension crack (Bench), bB 2.8 m

Rock density, r

25.5 kN/m3

Water density, w

9.81 kN/m3

Seismic coefficient, kH

0.08

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FactorofSafety
Overall Slope Model I
FS =

## 80.2c + 18143 393 z w 2.81z w2 tan

14995 + 4.02 z w2

FS =

17229

FS =

2327 + 4.02 z w2

FS =

## 34.9c + 4197 4.28 H w2 tan

3469

FactorofSafety
One of the most useful studies of the factor of safety equations
was to find the shear strength which would have to be mobilized
for failure (i.e. FS = 1.0).
Th
These
analyses
l
examined
i d the
th overall
ll cutt andd the
th individual
i di id l
benches for a range of water pressures.
Results are plotted and the numbered curves represent the
following conditions:
Curve 1 Overall Cut, Model I, dry, zw = 0.
Curve 2 Overall Cut, Model I, saturated, zw = z = 14m.
Curve 3 Overall Cut,
Cut Model II,
II dry,
dry Hw = 0.
0
Curve 4 Overall Cut, Model II, saturated, Hw = 60m.
Curve 5 Individual bench, Model I, dry, zw = 0.
Curve 6 Individual bench, Model II, saturated, zw = z = 9.9m.
Curve 7 Individual bench, Model II, dry, Hw = 0.
Curve 8 Individual bench, Model II, saturated, Hw = H = 20m.

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ShearStrengthMobilizedforFailureofSlope

FactorofSafety
The shear strength values found for different cases happen to
fall reasonably close together.
The elliptical shaded area surrounds the range of shear strengths
considered
id d reasonable
bl for
f partially
ti ll weathered
th d granite.
it
It is observed that when the cut is fully saturated and subject to
shear strength along the sliding surfaces would be exceeded by
the driving forces acting on the sliding surface, and failure
would be possible.
Considering the rate of weathering of granite in tropical
environments over the operational life of the slope, with a
consequent reduction in available cohesive strength, these
results indicated that the cut was unsafe and that the steps
should be taken to increase its stability.

49

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RemedialMeasures
Four basic methods for improving the stability of the cut were
considered:
(a) Reduction of cut height;
(b) Reduction
R d ti off cutt face
f
angle;
l
(c) Drainage; and
(d) Reinforcement with tensioned anchors.
In order to compare the effectiveness of these different methods,
it was assumed that the sheet joint surface had a cohesive
strength of 100 kPa and a friction angle of 35.
The increase in factor of safety for a reduction in slope height,
slope angle and water level was found by altering one of the
variables at a time in the equations for Factor of Safety.

RemedialMeasures
The influence of reinforcing the cut was obtained by modifying
the equations for FS to include a bolting force.
Model I
FS =

## cA + (W (cos p k H sin p ) U V sin p + T sin ( T + p )) tan

W (sin p + k H cos p ) + V cos p T cos( T + p )

Model II
FS =

cA
A + (W (cos p k H sin
i p ) U + T sin
i ( T + p )) tan
t
W (sin p + k H cos p ) T sin ( T + p )

## where T is total reinforcing force (kN/m) applied by the anchors,

and T is the plunge, or inclination of this force below the
horizontal.

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SlopeStabilizationwithTensionedRockAnchors

## Total Reinforcing Force required for FS of 1.5

RemedialMeasures
Curves for FS are plotted for different methods that were
considered for increasing the stability of the overall cut.
In each case, the change is expressed as a percentage of the total
range of each variable: H = 60 m, f = 50, zw/z = 1, Hw = 60 m.
The variation of the reinforcing force is expressed as a
percentage of the weight of the wedge of rock being supported.
In calculating the effect of the reinforcement, it was assumed
that the anchors are installed horizontally, that is T = 0.

51

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RemedialMeasures
The influence of the anchor inclination T on the reinforcing
load required to produce a factor of safety of 1.5 is plotted. This
shows that the required bolting force can be approximately
halved by installing the bolts horizontally (T = 0, or T + p =
35), rather than normal to the plane (T = 55, or T + Tp=
90). As discussed in Section 6.4.1, the generally optimum
angle for tensioned rock anchors is given by equation (6.23). In
practice, cement grouted anchors are installed at about 1015
below the horizontal to facilitate grouting.

Alternative methods of
increasing stability of overall
slope

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StabilizationOptions
Reduce height: Reduction in cut height is not an effective
solution (Curves 1 and 2). To achieve the required factor of safety
of 1.5, the slope height would have to be reduced by 50%. If this
solution were to be adopted, it would be more practical to
excavate the entire slope since most of the volume of rock to be
excavated is contained in the upper half of the slope.
Reduce face angle: Reducing the face angle would be very
effective stabilization measure as shown by line 3. The required
factor of safety of 1.5 is achieved for a reduction of less than 25%
off the
h slope
l
angle
l (37.5
(37 5).
) This
Thi finding
fi di is
i generally
ll true andd a
reduction in the face angle (i.e. flatter slope) is often an effective
remedial measure. However, a practical consideration is the
difficulty of excavating a sliver cut because of the limited
access for equipment on the narrow, lower part of the cut.

StabilizationOptions
Curve 4 (reduction of face angle for slope without tension crack)
is an anomaly and shows that calculations can sometimes produce
unrealistic results. The reduction in factor of safety shown by this
curve is a result of the reduction in the weight of the sliding block
as the face angle is reduced. Since the water pressure on the
sliding surface remains constant, the effective stress acting on the
sliding surface decreases and hence the frictional component of
the resisting force decreases. When a very thin sliver of rock
remains, the water pressure will float it off the slope. The
problem with this analysis lies in the assumption that the block is
completely
l l impermeable
i
bl andd that
h the
h water remains
i trappedd
beneath the sliding surface. In fact, the block would break up
long before it floated and hence the water pressure acting on the
sliding surface would be dissipated.

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StabilizationOptions
Drainage: Curves 5 and 6 show that drainage would not be an
effective stabilization option for both slope models. But factor of
safety of 1.5 is not achieved. Drainage is usually one of the most
cost-effective remedial measures. The reasons for the poor
performance of drainage in this case are due to the combination
of the slope geometry and the shear strength of the failure
surface.
Anchoring: Curves 7 and 8 show that reinforcing the cut by
means of tensioned anchors with a force equal to 5000 kN per
meter of slope length would achieve a factor of safety of 1.5,
assuming
i the
h anchors
h are installed
i
ll d just
j below
b l the
h horizontal.
h i
l
In other words, reinforcement of a 100 m length of slope would
require the installation of 500 anchors, each with a capacity of
1MN.

SuitableDrainageMeasures

54

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LongTermRemedialMeasures
The two most attractive options for long-term remediation were
reinforcement using tensioned cables or bar anchors, or
reduction of the slope face angle.
Reinforcement was rejected because of the high cost, and the
uncertainty of long-term corrosion resistance of the steel anchors.
The option finally selected was to reduce the face angle to 35 by
excavating the entire block down to the sheet joints forming the
sliding surface. This effectively removed the problem.
Al h
Although
h the
l d twice
i during
d i this
hi period,
i d no
major problems occurred and the slope was finally excavated
back to the sliding plane.

InfluenceofUnderCuttingtheToeofaSlope
The toe of a slope under-cut either intentionally by mining or by
natural agencies such as weathering or in case of sea cliffs by
the action of waves.
The influence of such undercutting on stability of a slope is very
important.
Geometry of under-cut slope shown in the figure.
Previous failure left the face inclined at f and vertical tension
crack depth z1.
Due to under-cut of M inclined at an angle 0, a new failure
occurs on a pplane inclined at p with a new tension crack depth
p
of z2.

55

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GeometryofUnderCutSlope

InfluenceofUnderCuttingtheToeofaSlope
The factor of safety of this slope is given by

FS =

## cA + (W cos p U V sin p )tan

W sin p + V cos p

with

[(

1
W = r H 22 z 22 cot p H 12 z12 cot f + (H 1 + H 2 )M
2
Note that, for 0 > 0,

M = (H 2 H 1 )cot 0

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InfluenceofUnderCuttingtheToeofaSlope
The critical tension crack depth for a dry under-cut slope is
given by

z2 =

c cos
r cos p sin ( p )

## The critical failure plane inclination is

1
H 2 z2

p = + Arc tan 2 2
(H1 z1 )cot f (H1 + H 2 )M
2
2

ChalkCliffFailureinducedbyUndercutting
Chalk cliff failure at Joss Bay on the Isle of Thanet in England.
Failure induced by undercutting action of the sea.
Hutchinson analysed the cliff failure.
Figure
g
shows the cross-section of the failure.
Chalk is reasonably uniform. Bedding is horizontal and two
major joint sets are almost vertical. The cliff face is parallel to
one of these joint sets.
No water in the wells near the coast and no seepage from the
face.
Therefore, fully drained chalk mass. U=V=0 is taken in the
analysis.
Laboratory tests:
Unit weight, r = 1.9 tonnes/m3,
Friction angle, = 42 (Peak), 30 (Residual)
Cohesion, c = 13.3 tonnes/m2 (Peak), 0 (Residual)

57

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CrossSectionofChalkCliffFailureatJossBay

ChalkCliffFailureinducedbyUndercutting
The failure can be classed as a fall and not a slide (in which shear
strength is reduced to residual value by shear movement).
Thus peak strength of chalk is relevant for the analysis.
We estimate the shear strength
g mobilized in the actual failure and
compare it with laboratory results.
Input Data:
H - Slope height (H1 = H2)
15.4 m
z1 - Original tension crack depth
6.8 m
z2 - New tension crack depth
7.8 m
M - Depth of undercut
0.5 m
0 - Inclination of undercut
0
f - Slope face angle
80
p - Failure plane angle
67

58

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ChalkCliffFailureinducedbyUndercutting
The effective friction angle of chalk mass can be determined by
rearranging equation for p in Slide No. 113 as

= 2 p Arc tan

H 22 z 22
H 12 z12 cot f (H 1 + H 2 )M

## which gives = 49.9. This value is higher than the laboratory

value of 42. The roughness of joint plays a major role.
Cohesion mobilized at failure can be estimated by rearranging
equation for z2 in Slide No. 113 as

c=

r z 2 cos p sin ( p )
cos

## Substituting z2 = 7.8 m, p = 67 and = 49.9 gives c = 2.64

tonnes/m2. This value is considerably lower than the laboratory
value of 13.3 tonnes/m2 for intact chalk.

ChalkCliffFailureinducedbyUndercutting
Hutchinson included data on the shear strength mobilized in
chalk cliff failure at other locations. Data shown in the figure
along with the curve from Ladanyi & Archambaults equation,
which is a ggood fit to the data.
The line defined by =2.64 + tan 49.9 is a tangent to this
curve. Thus the c and determined from back analysis are
reasonable.
Due to next undercutting of toe, the analysis for the failure can be
The input data will be:
H - Slope height (H1 = H2)
15.4 m
z1 - Original tension crack depth
7.8 m
c - Cohesive strength of chalk
2.65 tonnes/m2
- Friction angle of chalk mass
49.9
f - Slope face angle
67

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ShearStrengthRelationship forChalkCliffFailures
Hutchinson

ChalkCliffFailureinducedbyUndercutting
The unknowns in the analysis are:
z2 - New tension crack depth
p - Failure plane angle
M - Depth
p of undercut
There are 3 Unknowns & only 2 Equations. Following steps are
followed:
a. The depth of the tension crack z2 is calculated for a range of
possible failure plane angle p.
Variation of z2 with p is plotted in the figure. Since z2 must lie
between z1 and H, from the figure, p must lie between 67 and
56.
b. Rearranging Equation gives

(H
M =

z12 cot f
2H

H 2 z 22

2 H tan (2 p )

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TensionCrackDepthatFailure

ChalkCliffFailureinducedbyUndercutting
Values of M are obtained for the range of p and z2 and plotted
in the figure.
It is evident from the figure that the next cliff failure will occur
for M of 0.9 m and p of 60 and the new tension crack depth
p
will be z2 = 10.2 m.
The new failure geometry is shown in the figure.
Stabilization Measures
1. Slope should remain completely drained. Surface water
drainage and drain holes in slope face.
2. Undercutting should be prevented by the provision of a
concrete wall along the toe of the cliff.
3. If toe protection not possible, then reinforcement used to
stabilize the cliff face. Fully grouted rock bolts or cables
lightly tensioned to ensure that all contact were closed.

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DepthofUnderCutforFailure

PredictedGeometryofNextCliffFailure
duetoUndercutting

62

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SuggestedReinforcement ofCliffFaceusing
5mx5mPatternof5mLong20 tonne Bolts

p = c + n tan

Hoek, 2000

63

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r = n tan b

Hoek, 2000

Patton (1966)

Hoek, 2000

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## Shear Strength of Saw Tooth Specimen

Patton (1966)

= n tan (b + i )

Hoek, 2000

Shear Strength of
Discontinuities

JCS

= n tanb + JRC log10

## JRC = Joint Roughness Coefficient

JCS = Joint Wall Compressive Strength

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Hoek, 2000:
after Barton and
Choubey, (1977)

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## Influence of Scale on JRC and

JCS
Ln
JRCn = JRC0
L0
L
JCS n = JCS0 n
L0

0.02 JRC0

0.03 JRC0

Where:
JRC0, JCS0 and L0 refer to 100 mm lab scale
specimens
JRCn, JCSn and Ln refer to insitu block sizes

Hoek, 2000

67

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i = arctan
t

JRC 2

JCS
JCS

+ b
+ b + 1
tan JRC log10
n
n
n

180 ln 10

ci = n tan i

PLANAR FAILURE

## 2D CASE RARE IN FIELD BUT VALUABLE LESSONS TO BE LEARNT

FOS=

Resisting force
Driving force
f

N tan
FOS=

JCS
JRC log
+ r
n

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PLANAR FAILURE
N = (W + qB) {(1 kv) cos p - kh sin p} - U 1 sin p - U 2 + T cos

## S = (W + qB) {(1 kv) sin p + kh cos p} + U 1 cos p - T sin

A = ( H - z ) cos ec p
B = ( H z ) cot p H cot f

1
W = ( H 2 cot p - z 2 cot p - H 2 cot f )
2
1
U 1 = wzw2
2

1
U 2 = wzw( H z ) cos ec p
2

69