19th U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics (USRMS),
Permission to Distribute - American Rock Mechanics Association
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A back analysis of a slope failure in a quarry face in Cambrian quartzites in Warwickshire, England, was used to provided data for stability assessment of faces in an adjacent quarry. The slope failure was a stepped planar type. Various methods used to estimate shear resistance parameters, ranging from the empirical to a consideration of the rock breakdown mechanism, illustrate the difficulties in the predictive approach to slope stabilite.
The most important factors affecting rock slope stability are the structural geometry of the rock mass, the slope geometry and the resistance to shearing or sliding along potential failure surfaces. Whilst the first and second of these factors can usually be determined with a high degree of accuracy, the third can often only be estimated, using empirical approaches such as those suggested by Patton (1), Ladanyi and Archambault (2) and Barton (3). The difficulty in estimating shear resistance arises because failures rarely occur along a single planar discontinuity. At best the discontinuity will have undulating surfaces, meaning that sliding forces must overcome dilation as well as surface friction. At worst shearing will involve complex movement involving several sets of discontinuities and some, fracturing of intact rock. In addition, the shear resistance of isolated rock surfaces may be affected by infill, by weathering, by variations in roughness and by the presence of groundwater. Under these circumstances case history studies, particularly those involving back analysis of a failed slope, can provide useful information on the actual shear resistance involved and possibly confirmation of empirical methods of shear resistance computation. The present paper describes a failure (Figure 1) which occurred in an abandoned quarry face in Warwickshire, England in 1974 and discusses the relevance of data obtained from back analysis in assessing the stability of similar faces in an adjacent quarry.
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