Investigation of seismic effects on disturbed rock slope stability assessments

Z. Qian, A. J. Li, A. V. Lyamin, J. P. Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


For general stability analysis of rock slopes, rock mass strength and rock mass disturbance are definitely should be considered. In addition, the impact of earthquakes must be taken into account. In fact, the rock mass strength is very difficult to be assessed which causes the difficulty of analysing rock slope stability. Therefore, an empirical failure criterion, the Hoek-Brown failure criterion, has been proposed. It is one of the most widely accepted approaches to estimate rock mass strength. The rock mass disturbance is important and was found having significant influence on evaluating rock slope stability, especially for rock slope with poor quality rock mass. In the Hoek-Brown failure criterion, the disturbance factor can represent the level of the rock mass disturbance which would provide a reasonable basis for estimating rock mass strength. This research will not only discuss the slope factor of safety, but also consider the influence of the seismic force on rock slope stability assessment using pseudo-static method. In practice, only horizontal seismic coefficient is used. Various magnitudes of the disturbance factor and recommended blasting damage zone thickness are also taken into account. The blasting damage zone thickness considered ranges from 0.5 to 2.5 times of slope height. The research results have potential to be extended and then sets of comprehensive stability charts can be provided for the rock slope stability evaluations. They will be convenient tools for practising engineers. In this study, finite element upper bound and lower bound limit analysis methods are employed. Their applicability has been investigated in some previous studies. The differences between upper bound and lower bound solutions are less than ±10% which would provide reasonable and acceptable range for rock slope stability safety factor estimation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication13th ISRM International Congress of Rock Mechanics
Editors Hassani, Hadjigeorgiou, Archibald
PublisherInternational Society for Rock Mechanics
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781926872254
StatePublished - 2015
Event13th ISRM International Congress of Rock Mechanics 2015 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 10 May 201513 May 2015

Publication series

Name13th ISRM International Congress of Rock Mechanics
Volume2015- MAY


Conference13th ISRM International Congress of Rock Mechanics 2015


  • Blasting damage zone
  • Disturbance factor
  • Earthquake
  • Limit analysis
  • Safety factor
  • Stability chart


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