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MEASUREMENT OF IN SITU

STRESS AND ITS USE IN


ROCK ENGINEERING
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CONCEPT OF IN SITU STRESS

WHAT ARE IN SITU STRESSES?


Rock at depth is subjected to stresses from weight of
overlying strata and from locked in stresses of tectonic
origin
These are called In situ stresses

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WHY DO WE NEED TO KNOW IN SITU STRESSES?


When an opening is excavated in rock, in situ stress field is
locally disrupted and a new set of stresses is induced in rock
surrounding the opening
If these stresses exceed the strength of rock, the resulting
instability can have serious consequences for excavation
behaviour
Therefore, it is essential to know the magnitudes and
directions of these stresses for design of underground
excavations

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ESTIMATION OF VERTICAL STRESS


sv = gz
where sv is the vertical stress
g is the unit weight of the overlying rock and
z is the depth below surface

As an example, consider an element of rock at a depth of 1,000 m


below surface
Weight of the vertical column of rock resting on this element is the
product of depth and unit weight of overlying rock mass (typically
about 2.7 tonnes/m3 or 0.027 MN/m3)
Hence vertical stress on the element is 2,700 tonnes/m2 or 27 MPa

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MEASURED VERTICAL STRESSES (BROWN & HOEK, 1978)


Measurements of vertical stress
at various mining and civil
engineering sites around the
world confirm that this
relationship (sv = gz) is valid
although, as illustrated in this
figure, there is a significant
amount of scatter in
measurements

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ESTIMATION OF HORIZONTAL STRESS


Horizontal stresses acting on an element of rock at a depth
z below the surface are much more difficult to estimate
than the vertical stresses
Normally, the ratio of average horizontal stress to vertical
stress is denoted by the letter k such that:
sh = ksv = kgz

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ESTIMATION OF HORIZONTAL STRESS


Terzaghi and Richart (1952) suggested that the value of k is
independent of depth and is given by
k = n (1 n)
where, n is the Poisson's ratio of rock mass

This relationship was widely used in the early days of rock mechanics
but later it proved to be inaccurate and is seldom used today
Measurements of horizontal stresses at civil and mining sites around
the world show that the ratio k tends to be high at shallow depth and
that it decreases at depth

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ESTIMATION OF HORIZONTAL STRESS


Sheorey (1994) developed an elasto-static thermal stress model of the
earth. This model considers curvature of the crust and variation of
elastic constants, density and thermal expansion coefficients through
the crust and mantle
Following simplified equation was provided for estimating k:
k = 0.25 + 7Eh (0.01 + 1/z)

where, Eh (GPa) is the average deformation modulus of the


upper part of the earths crust measured in a horizontal direction
Direction of measurement is important particularly in layered
sedimentary rocks, in which deformation modulus may be
significantly different in different directions

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ESTIMATION OF HORIZONTAL STRESS


A plot of this equation is given in next slide for a range of
deformation moduli
The curves relating k with depth below surface z are similar to
those published by Brown and Hoek (1978), Herget (1988)
and others for measured in situ stresses.
Hence the equation is considered to provide a reasonable
basis for estimating the value of k

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ESTIMATION OF HORIZONTAL STRESS (SHEOREY, 1994)


k = horizontal stress/ vertical stress

Depth below surface, z (m)

sh = ksv

Where, sh is
horizontal stress
1000

2000

3000

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ESTIMATION OF HORIZONTAL STRESS (BROWN & HOEK, 1978)

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WHY AND WHEN IS IN SITU STRESS MEASUREMENT


NECESSARY?
Measured vertical stresses are often not equal to calculated
overburden pressure
Presence of much higher horizontal stresses at some locations than
estimated values
Two horizontal stresses are seldom equal
These inconsistencies occur because several factors influence in situ
stresses, such as, depth, anisotropy, stratification, geological
structures and topography
Therefore, where in situ stresses are likely to have a significant
influence on the behaviour of underground openings, it is
recommended that the in situ stresses should be measured

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WORLD STRESS MAP


The World Stress Map project, completed in July 1992, involved over 30
scientists from 18 countries and was carried out under auspices of the
International Lithosphere Project (Zoback, 1992)
The aim of the project was to compile a global database of contemporary
tectonic stress data
The World Stress Map (WSM) is now maintained and it has been extended
by Geophysical Institute of Karlsruhe University as a research project of
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
The 2005 version of the map contains approximately 16,000 data sets and
various versions of the map for the World, Europe, America, Africa, Asia and
Australia can be downloaded from the Internet
The WSM is an open-access database that can be accessed at www.worldstress-map.org (Reinecker et al, 2005)

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WORLD STRESS MAP GIVING ORIENTATION OF


MAXIMUM HORIZONTAL COMPRESSIVE STRESS

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STRESS MAP OF THE HIMALAYAS GIVING ORIENTATIONS OF MAXIMUM


HORIZONTAL COMPRESSIVE STRESS (WWW.WORLD-STRESS-MAP.ORG)

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DEVELOPING A STRESS MEASURING PROGRAMME


During preliminary design, first rough estimate of vertical
and horizontal in situ stresses can be made using simple
equations (sv = gh and sh = ksv)
If a preliminary analysis of stresses induced around the
proposed tunnel shows that these induced stresses are
likely to exceed the strength of the rock, the question of
stress measurement must be considered in more detail
(Note that for many openings in strong rock at shallow
depth, stress problems may not be significant and the
analysis need not proceed any further)

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DEVELOPING A STRESS MEASURING PROGRAMME


Next step would be to search the literature to determine
whether the results of in situ stress measurements are
available for mines or civil engineering project within a
radius of 50 km. If yes, these can be used to refine the
analysis.
If significant zones of failure are likely to develop around
tunnel, it is justifiable to set up a stress measurement
programme at site

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CONCEPT OF STRESS

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PRINCIPAL STRESSES IN AN ELEMENT OF ROCK CLOSE


TO A HORIZONTAL TUNNEL

Horizontal in situ stress, sh2

sh1
Horizontal
tunnel
Induced principal
stresses

Horizontal in situ stress

Vertical in situ stress, sv

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PRINCIPAL STRESS DIRECTIONS IN ROCKS


SURROUNDING A TUNNEL
The three principal stresses are
mutually perpendicular but they
may be inclined to the direction of
the applied in situ stress
The longer bars in this figure
represent directions of maximum
principal stress , while the shorter
bars give the directions of the
minimum principal stress at each
element considered

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CONTOURS OF MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM PRINCIPAL


STRESS MAGNITUDE

Redistribution of stresses is
concentrated in the rock
close to tunnel, and
at a distance of say three
times the radius from
centre of the hole, the
disturbance to the in situ
stress field is negligible.

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NUMERICAL METHODS OF STRESS ANALYSIS

To be covered later in the course


Some examples, however, are
presented here
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COMPARISON OF THREE
TUNNEL EXCAVATION PROFILES

Floor heave; high


stress concentration
on sharp corners;
large bending
moments in lining

Floor heave reduced


significantly;
solution for marginal
cases

Circular profile;
solution for severe
cases

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LARGE UNDERGROUND CAVERNS

Layout of a powerhouse
cavern and transformer
hall cavern

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LARGE UNDERGROUND
CAVERNS COMPARISON OF
THREE LAYOUTS

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LARGE UNDERGROUND CAVERNS DISPLACEMENT


VECTORS AND DEFORMED EXCAVATION SHAPES
Smaller of the two
excavations is drawn
towards the larger cavern
and its profile is distorted
in this process
This distortion can be
reduced by relocating the
transformer hall cavern
and by increasing the
spacing between the
caverns as shown in
previous slide

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IN SITU STRESS MEASUREMENT METHODS


Methods that disturb in situ rock conditions
Hydraulic methods (Hydraulic fracturing and HTPF)
Borehole relief methods
Surface relief methods

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IN SITU STRESS MEASUREMENT METHODS


Methods based on observation of rock behaviour

statistics of measured data (database)


core-discing
borehole breakouts
relief of large rock volumes (back analysis)
acoustic methods (Kaiser effect)
strain recovery methods
geological observational methods and
earthquake focal mechanisms

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HYDRAULIC FRACTURING TEST (HF)


HF is a borehole field-test method for assessing the state of in
situ stress in earth crust.

This method is also referred to as hydrofracturing, or hydrofrac,


and sometimes as minifrac
Successful HF tests result generally in an estimate of state of in
situ stress (both magnitudes and directions) in the plane
perpendicular to axis of borehole
When both the borehole and the induced HF are nearly vertical,
the stress component in the direction of hole axis is taken as
being principal and equal to overburden weight

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HYDRAULIC FRACTURING TEST (HF)


Domain of application of HF method has been extended with
HTPF method (Hydraulic Testing of Pre-existing Fractures)
HTPF method provides an evaluation of complete stress tensor
(6 components), independent of borehole orientation and
material properties
When possible, both methods should be combined for optimum
results

HF and/or HTPF are used routinely as part of site


characterization of large engineering underground structures

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HYDRAULIC METHODS
Both Hydraulic Fracturing and HTPF use same kind of
equipment (straddle packers, impression packers and high
pressure pumps) to generate high-pressure water during
either
formation of new fractures (in Hydraulic fracturing test) or
reopening of pre-existing fractures (in HTPF)

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PRINCIPAL OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURE TEST


A section of borehole, normally
less than 1m in length, is sealed
off with a straddle packer
Sealed-off section is then slowly
pressurised with a fluid, usually
water
This generates tensile stresses
at borehole wall

Pressurisation continues until


borehole wall ruptures through
tensile failure and a
hydrofracture is initiated

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PRINCIPAL OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURE TEST


Fracture plane is normally parallel to the borehole axis, and
two fractures are initiated simultaneously in diametrically
opposite positions on borehole periphery
Hydrofracture will initiate at the point, and propagate in the
direction offering the least resistance
The fracture will therefore develop in a direction
perpendicular to the minimum principal stress

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PRINCIPAL OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURE TEST


Orientation of the fracture is obtained from
the fracture traces on borehole wall

Thus, the orientation of initiated fractures


coincides with the orientation of maximum
horizontal stress, in a vertical or sub-vertical
hole where it is assumed that one principal
stress is parallel to the borehole
Fracture orientation may be determined
either by use of an impression packer and a
compass or by use of geophysical methods
such as a formation micro-scanner or a
borehole televiewer
Fracture orientation
determination from BHTV image

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TYPICAL PRESSURE-TIME CURVE


Pc = initial break
down pressure

Pr = Reopening
pressure
Psi = shut-in
pressure
These values are
used to calculate in
situ stresses

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SCHEMATIC VIEW OF A HYDRAULIC FRACTURING


SYSTEM

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HYDROFRAC SET-UP AND TESTING AT A SITE IN


J&K

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HYDROFRAC SET-UP AND TESTING AT A SITE IN


J&K

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ADVANTAGES & LIMITATIONS OF HYDRAULIC


FRACTURE TEST
It is an efficient method for determining 2D stress field, normally
in horizontal plane, and is therefore suitable at early stages of
projects when no underground access exists
Due to its efficiency, it is especially advantageous for
measurements at greater depth
It is not significantly affected by the drilling processes
It normally includes large equipment, which requires space
Theoretical limitations imply that measurements should be done
in vertical holes. Hence, the method is most suited for surface
measurements in vertical or sub-vertical boreholes

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ADVANTAGES & LIMITATIONS OF HYDRAULIC


FRACTURE TEST
Classical hydraulic fracturing requires sections in the borehole
free from fractures. These sections should be at least a few
meters long so that induced fractures do not interact with
existing ones
Hydraulic fracturing may be difficult to apply with an acceptable
success rate in rock domains with very high stresses, such as
when core discing is indicated in the core from core drilling
Geological features, such as foliation planes in gneissic rock, may
also affect the possibilities of success as they act as weakness
planes and thereby may control the direction of the initiated
fracture

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ACCURACY OF RESULTS OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURE


TEST
Direct measurement of the least stress in the plane
perpendicular to the borehole axis, which is normally the
least horizontal stress, sh and the accuracy is good (~ +5%)
The maximum horizontal stress is calculated from equations
including a failure criteria and parameters evaluated from
the field pressure data. The accuracy is less good for the
maximum horizontal stress (~ +1020% or more)

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HYDRAULIC TEST ON PRE-EXISTING FRACTURES


(HTPF)
HTPF is a development
of hydraulic fracturing
technique because it
uses the same
equipment and is based
on measurement of the
same parameters
Instead of inducing new
fractures in intact rock,
HTPF method is based
on re-opening of
existing fractures found
in borehole wall and
thereby determining
normal stress across
fracture plane

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ADVANTAGES & LIMITATIONS OF HTPF


As compared to classical hydraulic fracturing, HTPF is less
influenced by geological features
HTPF does not require determination of the tensile strength
of the rock and it is independent of pore pressure effects

As long as a variation in strike and dip of the existing


fractures exists in the rock mass, neither weakness planes
such as foliation planes nor core discing should cause any
problems in obtaining successful measurements

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ADVANTAGES & LIMITATIONS OF HTPF


HTPF is more time consuming than hydraulic fracturing as
the down-hole equipment must be positioned at the exact
location of each discrete fracture to be tested. This requires
good accuracy in the depth calibration
A drawback, compared to hydraulic fracturing, is also that
no preliminary results can be obtained until all field-testing
has been completed, field data evaluated and those data
processed using computer

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OVERCORING METHODS
Tests are conducted by the overcoring of a bore hole gauge
capable of
measuring change in borehole diameter in different
directions as in case of USBM deformation gauge, or
measuring the strain that occur in the walls of a drill hole
when the stresses are relieved by overcoring as in the case
of CSIRO hollow inclusion cell

The elastic properties of the rock and strain measurements


are combined to calculate the stresses in the plane
perpendicular to the axis of the drill hole

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USBM borehole
deformation gauge

CSIRO hollow
inclusion cell

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OVERCORING PROCEDURE

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FURTHER READING
ISRM
Suggested
Methods for
Rock Stress
Estimation
in 4 parts

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BOREHOLE BRAKE-OUTS

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CORE DISCING

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