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Chapter 11


by D. U. Deere, A.. J. Hendron, Jr., F. D. Patton,
and E. J. Cording

I n the design of structures founded in the near-surface rock, a distinc-

tion may be made between those problems that are related to the strength
of the rock mass, and those that are related primarily to the compressi-
bility of the rock mass. The mining engineer deals almost exclusively
with problems involving strength in the design of open-pit slopes a n d
underground openings. The civil engineer is similarly concerned with
strength problems in the design of vehicular and water tunnels; under-
ground power plants; cut slopes in rock for highways, canals, and spill-
ways; and in the study of the sliding resistance of the foundations of
gravity dams and the abutments of arch dams. Moreover, the civil
engineer encounters problems in which the compressibility of the rock
becomes the key element in the design. These problems include settle-
ment of heavy structures supported on rock, deformati0.n of the a b d -
ments of arch dams, and deflection of pressure tunnel linings.
The design problems listed above are still solved largely on the basis
of experience and rule-of-thumb. However, recent developments in rock
mechanics give promise of providing more reali~t~ic approaches to certain
aspects of the design This papel: presents some of the more important
recent developments which contribute to an understanding of rock
behavior and which aid in design of rock structures.
Typically, four steps are involved in the design of a struct'ure, whether
i t be a machine element, a structural member of a building, or a structure
in rock. These steps are listed below:
D. U. Deere is Professor of Civil Engineering and Geology, University of Illinois,
Urbana, Ill.; A. J. Hendron, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, University
of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.; F. D. Patton is Post-Doctorate Fellow, Laboratorio Nacional
de Engenharia Civil, Portugal (presently Assistant Professor of Geology and Minerals
and Metals Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.) ; and E. J. Cording
is 1st Lieutenant, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station.
I ) Determination of the boundary conditions of the problem, i.e., the
dimensions and geometry of the problem and the magnitudes of the loads
whichzare to be resisted.
2) Determination of the engineering properties of the materials in-
3 ) Selection of a tentative design and the prediction of the behavior
in terms of stability and deformations, using equations from theoretical
and applied mechanics.
4) Assessment of the predicted behavior in terms of acceptability of
performance for the particular problem a t hand, followed by redesign
if necessary.
I n the following paragraphs the manner in which these steps apply to
a structure in or on rock are briefly described. The first step treats the
geometry of the problem, such as the size of a dam foundation, the size
and shape of a tunnel opening, the depth beneath the surface, the distance
to the nearest adjacent opening, etc. It also deals with the loading con-
ditions: the initial stresses in the rock mass caused by gravity loading
and by its past stress (or deformational) history, and the changed stress
conditions brought about by the construction. Thus, for complete defini-
tion of the loading conditions, a knowledge of the initial state of stress
(residual stress) of the in situ rock is necessary. The residual stress can-
not be determined by geological or theoretical reasoning although its
magnitude and orientation can be' approximated by' various types of
field measurements. '

The second step in the design procedure consists of determining the

engineering properties of the materials involved. The properties of
metals and concrete may be determined from stand,ard laboratory tests
or from handbooks. Rock, however, varies to such an ext,ent t h a t the
pertinent engineering properties must be determined a t each site, usually
by large-scale field tests rather than by laboratory tests of small samples.
Rock mechanics research of the past decade has added greatly to the
understanding o f ' in situ properties of rock and the requirements for
adequate tests of rock masses.
The third step in the design procedure involves the selection of a
tentative design and the prediction of the expected behavior, either as a
factor of safety against shear failure or as anticipated deformation and.
displacements. Equations from theoret:ical and applied mechanics, or
modifications thereof, are used. Theoretical relations based upon con-
tinuum theories (elastic, plastic, or viscous) are important for determin-
ing stress and-displacement distributions in rock. However, failure of
the rock mass often occurs by brittle fracture or discontinuous move-
ment along weakness planes, modifying the assumed continuum behavior.
Failure and displacement .theories which account for the discontinuous '
nature of rock' are needed. Valuable information is currently being ob- ,
tained by several research organizations from model studies and from
field-observations of full-scale structures during and following construc-
tion. These studies promise to provide a better understanding of discon-
tinuous behavior and to enhance the capability of predicting the response
of jointed rock,to different design situations.
The fourth step involves an engineering judgment as to t,he suitability
of the design with respect to the predicted behavior, the particular re-
quirements of the structure, comparison with other alternate solutions,
and a careful study of the economics and practica4ity of the proposed
design. This step is more an engineering than a mechanics consideration.
Experience in similar projects and an understanding of the requirement,^
for successful performance of the type of structure being considered are
essential. The determination of a design for a structure is a trial and
error process. At any stage in the design process it may be necessary
to return earlier portion a n d to reevaluate it on the basis of the
information generated in one of the later stages. Certainly redesign is
one of the most important elements of this last step.
All four of the above steps are interrelated and necessary in order to
obtain an adequate design. The importance of field observation of the
performance of structures cannot be overemphasized. It is a means of
maintaining a proper perspkctive in the design procedures, the relation-
ship of the four steps to each other, and their limitations in predicting the
actual behavior.
The authors feel that Step 2 (the evaluation of the engineering prop-
erties of the rock mass) is one of the most important steps; The engineer-
ing properties assumed for the material will strongly affect the final
design of the rock structure. The .design and prediction of engineering
behavior will be no better than the material properties used in the
equation relating load and deformation properties (Step 3 ) , even though
the relations are correct and applicable, and the geometry and loading
. values of the first step are correct.
The present paper emphasizes the determination of the engineering
properties of the in situ rock mass, both the deformation modulus and
shear strength, although not to the exclusion of other aspects of the
problem of rock behavior and engineering design. I n the following para-
graph a statement regarding the character of in situ rock is given. The
concept, while duly realized and accepted by workers in rock engineering,
appears worthy of reiteration in any paper dealing with design.
Since the advent of rock mechanics, 15 to 20 years ago, it has been
demonstrated that the behavior of rock is governed by both the prop-
erties of the intact rock material a.nd by the natural geological discon-
tinuities which are inherent in most natural rock masses. The relative
importance of each of these factors in governing rock behavior depends
mainly on the ratio between the dimensions of the operation under con-
sideration and the spacing of the discontinuities. In those instances
where large masses of rock are subjected to changes in the stress en-
vironment, such as in the foundations of dams and in large underground
excavations, the influence of the joint pattern is very pronounced. On
the other hand, in rock masses that are characterized by the absence of
discontinuities and in masses whose changing stress environment is small
compared to the spacing of the discontinuities, the behavior of the rock
is more dependent on the strength and modulus of the intact material.
For the problems discussed in this paper, the discontinuities may be
considered to be significant.



Civil engineering works such as pressure tunnels, arch dams, and the
foundations of high buildings and arch bridges are generally founded on
or within jointed rock masses (Fig. 1). The loads produced by these
structures do not usually approach the ultimate bearing capacity of
the rock mass; but, the design and the performance of the structures

Buildlnp or B r i d g e PIer; Abutment

Fig. 1-Typical civil engineering problems involving modulus of defonnation.

are highly dependent upon the deformations required to develop a reac-
tion in the rock equal to the imposed load. Information regarding the
magnitude and variation of the deformation modulus of the rock mass
along the structure-rock contact is therefore required for design. How-
ever, the accuracy required in the determination of the deformation
modulus and the manner in which the deformation modulus influences
the design are entirely different for each type of structure as discussed

Arch Dams
The design of arch dams, for example, requires a knowledge of the
ratio of the deformation modulus of the foundation material to the
modulus of concrete (EJE,), and the possible variations of this ratio
along the foundation. Results of model t,ests reported by Oberti and
Rocha' have shown that the foundation has very little effect on the
stresses in arch dams if the modulus of the foundation is greater than one-
quarter that of the concrete. For this case it is sufficient to know the
modulus of the foundation within a factor of two. When the ratio of the
foundation modulus to that of the concrete becomes less than one-quarter
over a large 'portion of the foundation, the changes in stress distribution
i n the dam become more pronounced.
In general, as the modulus of the foundation decreases, it is necessary
to assess the foundation modulus more accurately. For cases where the
foundation modulus is less than about 1/16 the modulus of concrete,
Rocha ' has found that the design of an arch dam is almost completely
dominated by the compressibility of the foundation. I n this case it is
necessary to know the deformation modulus of the foundation within
about 30 percent. Determination of the compressibility of the founda-
t i o n to this accuracy, however, is difficult to achieve in areas of low rock
quality because of the extremely variable nature of jointing and chemical
alteration in the rock mass. Variations in compressibility greater than
50 percent over relatively short distances are not uncommon due to
differences in tightness of the joints.
The -deformation modulus of rock comprising the slopes of a valley
increases with depth behind the slope. Relatively compressible zones
are found a t shallow depths as a result o f rock weathering and the
formation of relief joints parallel to the valley slope. One of the primary
decisions which must be made by designers of arch dams is the depth
into the valley wall a t which the arch dam will be founded. The engineer
must weigh the additional excavation costs of founding the dam deeper
in the valley wall against the benefits of achieving a stiffer foundation,
which will reduce the uncertainties in the design of the arch. Thus, the
variation and magnitude of the foundation modulus influence the depth

a t which the arch is founded as well as the structural design of the arch;
both of these factors are significant in the overall cost of the dam.

Pressure Tunnels
Significant savings can be realized in the design of pressure tunnels
if the rock mass surrounding the liner is stiff enough to support an
appreciable portion of the internal pressure a t deformations compatible
with the permissible strains in the liner material. The latter are, of
course, dependent upon the modulus of elasticity and the allowable stress
of the liner material. The allowable stress in the liner is selected as a
certain fraction of the yield stress, with the intent of insuring that the
liner remains in the elastic range. The allowable stress selected for
design is to some extent influenced ,by the uncertainties involved in the
determinations of the modulus of deformation of the rock mass and the
variations in the deformation modulus within short distances along the
The deformation of the tunnel surface resulting from the radial stress
applied by the liner is dependent on the fractured zone of rock adjacent
to the tunnel as well as the deformability of the deeper rock mass. The
development of the loosened (decompression) zone immediately surround-
ing the tunnel is sensitive to tshe construction procedure, the rock quality,
the initial state of stress, and the time elapsed before rock bolts are
placed in the roof, if indeed rock bolts are placed a t all. As a result of
the above factors, one might expect the modulus of deformation to vary
by a factor of two or more over short distances along the tunnel. These
variations may often be reduced, and the modulus improved, by grouting
the rock mass around the tunnel. Evaluation of the deformation modulus
of the rock before and after grouting is therefore necessary in order to
determine if the increase in the modulus of the rock mass is significant
enough to justify the additional cost of grouting.
It should be emphasized, however, that the design of pressure tunnel
liners is not always governed by the operating conditions. One of the
most frequent cases illustrating this point occurs when the thickness of
the liner is governed by the stiffness required to prevent buckling of the
empty tunnel liner due to external hydrostatic pressure in the rock joints.
I n such instances it is not fruitful to expend significant effort in deter-
mining the deformation modulus of the rock.

Foundations of Bridges and High Buildings

Foundations for tall buildings are frequently taken to bedrock; column
loads of 5000 to 12,000 kips are not uncommon. The size of the footings
are usually determined by an allowable pressure, specified by a city build-
ing code, which virtually eliminates the possibility of a bearing capacity
failure. However, the engineer is frequently called upon to estimate the
relative deformations due to settlements and the possible rotation due
t o wind loads. The upper 15 to 20 ft of bedrock may be slightly weathered
or altered along discontinuities. The engineer must determine the depth
a t which the footings will be founded. A knowledge of the deformation
rf~odulusof the rock mass with depth is essential to enable him to select
the minimum depth a t which the footing deformations will be less than
the maximum permissible deformation determined for the structure in
The prediction of the foundation displacements for arch bridges is
dependent upon a knowledge of the deformation modulus of rock masses
because such bridges are usually utilized to span relatively narrow rock
gorges. A delineation of the modulus of deformation with depth is
mandatory for determining the depth and size of the foundation that
will support the required reaction within limits of deformation which
can be tolerated by the structure. A determination of the foundation
modulus, in the case of arch bridges and tall buildings, within a factor
of about two is considered sufficient for design purposes.

A relatively large volume of rock deforms as a result of the change in
stress imposed by the structures described above. The frequency and
nature of the geological discontinuities within the zone of influence are
significant factors which determine to a great extent the compressibility
of the rock mass. The only method that can be used to provide a rea-
sonable estimate of the effect of these discontinuities, and a reasonable
estimate of the numerical value of the deformation modulus, is large-
scale field load tests. The loaded area must be large enough to stress a
volume of rock that contains enough discontinuities to be representative
of the rock mass.
At an engineering site the rock is almost never statistically homo-
geneous. It is found to be comprised of different zones, each of which may
be characterized by a certain number and type of geological discontinui-
ties, rock type, and degree of weathering. These zones should be delineslted
although they do not always have sharp boundaries and their delineaqon
may be difficult. As pointed out by Terzaghi,' "The number of tests per-
formed should be great enough to permit reliable evaluation of the sta-
tistical average of the significant engineering properties of the real
material located within each zone." Two approaches may be considered.
First, a great number of large-scale tests can be conducted within each
zone or rock type for the site in question t o obtain a statistical average
of the deformation properties for each zone. The number of tests re-
quired to accomplish this objective, however, may be so numerous that
it is economically prohibitive for design studies, and certainly so for
preliminary site selection. Thus, as desirable as this approach may be
from the technical viewpoint, it is not a feasible one.
The second approach involves a limited number of large-scale tests
which are conducted a t the same location where detailed exploratory tests
have been performed by conventional methods. The objective of con-
ducting a limited number of tests is to establish a correlation between
the results of the large-scale deformation modulus tests and the numerical
results of conventional exploratory tests over the extreme ranges of rock
quality which exist in areas influenced by the structure. This correlation
will then be used in conjunction with the exploratory methods and tests
to statistically assess the average deformation properties of the rock mass
for design studies.
The exploratory methods which could be used in this approach are
field seismic surveys, laboratory tests on intact cores, field pumping tests,
borehole camera studies, and various core logging techniques which give
an indication of rock mass quality in terms of fracture frequency, weather-
ing, etc. If the correlation between full-scale deformation modulus tests
and conventional exploratory tests appears to be a general relationship
from one site to another, it can be used directly without the use of full-
scale field tests in the site selection and preliminary engineering phases
of future projects. Examples of two possible methods of applying the
second approach are given below.

Reduction of Laboratory Core Modulus

Consider first the laboratory testing of a rock core. The recoverable
rock core is tested in the laboratory very much like specimens of con-
crete. The core is representative of the intact rock material contained
within a single joint block, as shown on Fig. 1. The deformation charac-
teristics of the intact specimens are not representative of the rock mass
as a whole because of the absence of discontinuities. The modulus of elas-
ticity determined from intact specimens, however, establishes an upper
bound for the modulus of the rock mass for the special case in which ihe
joints are widely spaced and very tight. As the degree of jointing in the
rock mass becomes more severe, the 'deformation modulus of the rock
mass is reduced to a smaller. fraction of the modulus of elasticity deter-
mined from laboratory specimens.
Laboratory tests on intact specimens recovered from the immediate
vicinity of full-scale jacking tests or pressure chamber tests enable the
engineer .to evaluate the ratio of the .deformation modulus measured in
the field to the laboratory modulus measured on intact specimens. This
ratio, of course, is the reduction factor which expresses the extent to
which the modulus of the rock mass is reduced from the modulus of the
"intact" rock due to the frequency and tightness of the joints (rock mass
quality). If this reduction factor is evaluated from full-scale tests a t
several locations on a given site where the rock mass quality is different,
the engineer is then able to determine the manner in which the reduction
factor varies with rock mass quality. An application of this philosophy
would enable the engineer to estimate the deformation modulus a t other
points on the site on the basis of a knowledge of the properties of intact
specimens and an evaluation of the rock mass quality.
The most difficult step in the application of this approach is establish-
ing a quantitative measurement of the "rock mass quality" such that two
engineers evaluating the same location would arrive a t the s a m e quan-
tity. The most promising means of quantitatively describing the rock
mass quality are discussed in a later section.

Reduction of Field Seismic Modulus

T h e , field seismic velocity is often used for calculating the in situ
modulus of the rock mass. The main advantage of the field seismic
technique is that the measurement is made a t a pertinent location in the
field and the seismic pulse is affected to a certain extent by the number
and character of discontinuities present. Thus, a highly fractured or
weathered rock will exhibit a lower velocity than will a sound rock mass.
~ h e ' m o d u l u sdirectly calculated from this velocity, EReIs,however, cannot
be taken as the pertinent. deformation modulus of the rock mass. Serafim
has shown that the value of Young's modulus calculated from seismic
velocities, E,,,,, agrees with the tangent, modulus, El,,, observed a t the
beginning of unloading in a large plate bearing test, as shown in Fig. 2.
The initial unloading modulus, E,lt, however, is considerably higher than
the secant modulus of deformation, E,, which is of primary interest in
design. Therefore, even though the seismically 'determined modulus, E,,I,,
inherently includes the properties of the intact rock as well as some reduc-
tion due to the discontinuities, it is higher t:han the pertinent deformation
modulus determined by plate bearing or pressure chamber tests.
The seismic modulus is higher than the in situ modulus appropriate for
real structures because the seismic pulse is of very short duration and,
more significantly, it is a very low stress-level pulse such that the phe-
nomenon observed is entirely elastic. Correlations, however, can be es-
tablished a t several locations on a given site between the deformation
modulus from large field tests and the seismic modulus. The ratio between
the measured deformation moduli and the seismic modulus will be found
to decrease as the quality of the rock mass decreases. The results of the
full-scale field tests can then be extrapolated over the site by a knowledge
Stress, u

Deformation , 6
Fig. 2-Yypicctl stress-cleformalion relationship for n rock mass.

of the rock mass quality and the seismic velocity after a correlation is
established. It is emphasized that the extrapolation of the field test
results throughout a given area, or from one area to another, is de-
pendent on a quantitative description of the "rock mass quality." This
is not surprising, however, since the rock mass properties are more
dependent upon structural discontinuities than on small differences in
intact properties.


In order to be useful to the civil engineer, a quantitative index describ-
ing rock mass quality must be easily and economically determined. An
evaluation of the index must not depend to a great extent upon the sub-
jective judgment of the engineer, and the' index must be related to cer-
tain engineering properties of the rock mass, such as deformation modulus.
A determination of the quantitative index of rock mass quality must also
be possible in the preliminary stages of the project. Therefore, the quan-
titative system should be based upon seismic surveys, core logging tech-
niques, bore hole camera information, or some combination of the above
in conjunction with some of the ordinary tests conducted on intact

Velocity Ratio
The field seismic velocity is frequently utilized in exploratory work t o
sound out the variations in the quality of the in situ rock mass. The
seismic velocity may be measured from a refraction seismic survey by
up-hole shooting, by continuous 3-D sonic logging in a drill hole, or from
cross-hole seismic velocities. The seismic velocity, therefore, is a field
measurement which is a quantitative index of the general character of the
in situ rock mass. The field seismic velocity, however, is not only influ-
enced by the number and type of discontinuities in the path of the pulse,
it is also influenced considerably by the properties of the intact rock.
The effect of the discontinuities in the rock mass can be estimated by
comparing the field seismic velocity with the laboratory sonic velocity
of an intact core obtained from the same rock mass, as shown in Fig. 3.
The difference in the velocities can only be caused by the structural
discontinuities which exist in the field. The velocity ratio (VF/VL) where
VF and VL are the seismic velocities of the rock mass in situ and the
intact specimen respectively, was first proposed as a quality index by
O n ~ d e r a .For
~ a high quality massive rock with only a few tight joints,
the velocity ratio should approach unity; as the rock becomes of poorer
quality in the field, due to many open discontinuities, the velocity ratio
will be reduced to values lower than unity.

'~ronsducer Velocity r a t i o = VSeis /v,,,,, sonic

F i g . 3-Velocity ratio as an index of rock quality.

The velocity ratio, however, is partially dependent upon the method
used for determining the laboratory core velocity. Velocities determined
by the resonant frequency technique on unstressed specimens are often
lower than the field seismic velocity. This phenomena can be attributed
t o micro-fractures in the sample which were opened up during sampling
and which do not transmit a steady state vibration in the unloaded
condition. It seems more reasonable to determine the laboratory seismic
velocity by means of a sonic pulse technique since the field measurement
is also a pulse velocity measurement rather than a steady state measure-
ment. I n general, the velocities determined on specimens by the sonic
technique are higher than the velocities calculated from the resonant
frequency method, except for dense compact rocks such as sound granite
or diabase, in which case they are similar. Velocity measurements made
by using pulse techniques, however, are also dependent upon the stress
level to which the laboratory sample is subjected. I n such cases, the
laboratory pulse velocity should be determined a t a stress level high
enough to close the micro-fractures induced by sampling and destressing.
In instances where the rock inass is completely saturated it is possible
that the velocity ratio may no longer be a sensitive indicator of rock mass
quality. This difficulty arises because the seismic pulse is coupled across
the discontinuities by the water in the openings and the field seismic
velocity may be nearly equal to the laboratory sonic velocity. This phe-
nomena has been observed to a somewhat smaller scale on laboratory
specimens. Fig. 4 shows the results of sonic tests on laboratory speci-
mens of Taconic Marble (Vermont) which were conducted on a dry
sample and on a sample with a degree of saturation approaching 100 per-
cent. The results on the dry sample show an increase in velocity with
axial stress because the micro-fractures close up as the axial stress
increases. The sonic velocity tends to approach a constant after a given
axial stress is reached because the micro-fractures are essentially closed.
The same series of tests conducted on a saturated sample show that the
velocity is not very sensitive to changes in stress level because the water
couples the pulse across the micro-fractures. Therefore, the sonic velocity,
in the case of a saturated sample, is not a sensitive indicator of the
presence of fractures.
A similar behavior could be envisioned in the field rock mass and there-
fore the field seismic velocity would not appear to be a good indication
of the discontinuities present in a saturated rock mass. Additional experi-
ence is needed concerning this point. In a t least one case below the water
table (World Trade Center site, New York City) the velocity ratio did
prove to be related quite closely with the quality of the rock.
Sonic Pulse Velocity, V L , fps
Fig. 4-Variation of sonic velocity with axial stress for dry and saturated specimens
of taconic marble.

Core Recovery, RQD, and Fracture Frequency

Core borings are a useful means of obtaining information about the
aualities of a rock mass. The recoverable core indicates the character
df the intact rock and the number and character of the natural disconti-
nuities. One simple method of quantitizing the in situ rock mass quality
is to log the fractures observed in the core. A rock mass of good quality
will have a low fracture frequency (on the order of one fracture per ft,
or less), and will therefore have an in situ modulus of deformation which
wiil approach the modulus'of the intact specimen. High fracture frequen-
cies (four to six fractures per f t ) are indicative of a poorer quality rock.
Another quantitative index which has proved useful in logging rock
core is a rock quality designation, RQD, developed by Deere.7 The RQD
is modified core recovery percentage in which all the pieces of sound core
over 4-in. long are .counted as recovery. The smaller pieces are con-
sidered to be due to close shearing, jointing, faulting, or weathering in
the rock mass and are not counted. The RQD is a more general measure
of the core quality than the fracture frequency. Core loss, weathered
and soft zones, as well as fractures are accounted for in the determination.
The RQD provides a preliminary estimate of the variation of the in situ
rock mass properties from the properties of the "sound" portion of the
rock core. Thus, a general estimate of the engineering behavior of the
rock mass can be made. An RQD approaching 100 percent denotes an
excellent quality rock mass with properties similar to that of an intact
specimen. RQD values ranging from 0 to 50 percent are indicative of
a poor quality rock mass having a small fraction of the strength and
stiffness measured for an intact specimen.
An example of determining the RQD from a core run of 60 in. is given
in Fig. 5. For this particular case the core recovery was 50 in. and tjhe
modified core recovery was 34 in. This yields an R Q D of 57 percent,
classifying the rock mass in the fair category.
Problems arise in the use of core fracture frequencies and RQD for
determining the in situ rock mass quality. The RQD and fracture fre-
quency evaluate fractures in the core caused by the drilling process, as
well as natural fractures previously existing in the rock mass. For
example, when the core hole penetrates a fault zone or a joint, additional
breaks may form which, although not natural fractures, are caused by
the natural planes of weakness existing in the rock mass. These breaks
should be included in the estimated rock quality. However, some fresh
breaks occur during drilling and handling of the core which are not related
to the quality of the rock mass. The ability of the driller will affect the
amount of breakage and the core loss which occurs. Poor drilling tech-

Core Modified
Recovery, Core Recovery
RQD Description of
(Rock Qua l i t y Rock Quality
10" 10" D e t i g n a tion)

2" 0 - 25 v. poor
3" 25 - 5 0 poor
4" 4" 50 -
75 fair
5" 5" 75 - 90 good
3" -
90 1 0 0 excellent
4" 4"

6' 6'

5" ' 5"
- -
50" Core 3 4.

Fig. 5-Modified core recovery as a n i n d e z o f rock quality.

niques will "penalize" the rock by lowering its apparent quality. It is
difficult to distinguish between drilling breaks and those natural and
incipient fractures which reflect the quality of the rock mass. I n cer-
tain instances, it may bc advisable to include all fractures when estimat-
ing RQD and fracture frequency. Obviously, some judgment is involved
in the core logging.
Another problem in the use of the RQD and the fracture frequency
indices is that the determinations arc not scnsitive to the tightness of
individual joints, whereas in some instances the in situ deformation
modulus may be strongly affected by the average joint opening.
Fracture frequency and RQD are closely related, particularly for an
unweathered rock mass degraded only by fracturing. The relationship
between fracture frequency and RQD evaluated from N X cores a t four
different locations is shown in Fig. 6. An RQD of 100 pcrcent correlates
with a fracture frequency of approximately one fracture per foot, whereas
RQD values near zero are comparabh to fracture frequencies of five and
six fractures per foot. Fracture frequencies greater than six have very
little additional significance with regard to engineering behavior. (They
are assumed equal to six on Fig. 6.)
At one of the four sites (Climax Stock Granite, Nevada Test Site)
rock quality was determined by logging along lines on the walls of
underground openings in addition to the logging of the N S cores taken
in the vicinity of the openings. The two methods yielded similar results.
The rock mass quality measured by logging along the tunnel walls was
found to vary with the orientation of the walls with respect to the pre-
dominant joint system. Rock quality was higher when measured on walls
parallel to the joint system (RQD=85 pcrcent) than when measured
across the joint system (RQD =63 percent). The average RQD for all
orientations of the tunnel walls was 73 percent. An average RQD of
75 percent was determined on core from four drill holes in the same zone.
(The core holes were perpendicular to the predominant jointing.)
Another technique which may be of value for determining rock mass
quality is a measurement of the attenuation of seismic pulses. The use
of attenuation as an index of rock quality is presently only in the initial
stages of development, but shows considerable promise. One very ele-
mentary attenuation method was used during sonic logging of 8-in.
diam, water-filled bore holes in the Climax Stock Granite. The relative
amplitude of the received signal was determined a t different depths in
the hole. Since a constant energy input was maintained a t all times,
the amplitude of the record received was taken to be an indication of
the rock quality. The amplitude of the transmitted signal correlated
well with the core quality, as shown in Fig. 7. The regions of low energy
return are indicative of fault or fracture zones in the rock.
Fracture Frequency, Froctures/Foot

Climax Stock
o Tunnel W a l l , Across Joints

A Tunnel W a l l , Porallel To Joints

fl NX Core

NX Core
Dworshak D a m , Granite Gneiss

A John Day Basalt

8 Hackensack Siltstone
Fig. 6-Correlation of rock mass quality indices: jractu~.efrequency and RQD

Both seismic and logging techniques have been discussed as possible

means of quantizing the rock mass quality. A correlation of the square
of velocity ratio with RQD is shown in Fig. 8. It is apparent that higher
RQD values are associ'ated with high velocity ratios. From the limited
data it appears that the square of ~ e l o c i t yratio may be used for a one-
to-one correlation with RQD within the scatter of the data. The dashed

Fig. 7-Correlation o f three methods for determining rock quality in Climaz Stock

line represents the approximat'e position of data obtained from O n ~ d e r a . ~

Although he did not give RQD values, he listed rock quality as excellent,
good, etc. These have arbitrarily been correlated with similar descriptive
terms of the present paper and approximate RQD values obtained.


The most common methods for determining the deformation modulus
of rock masses are plate jacking tests and pressure chamber tests. Pres-
sure chamber tests have the advantage of affecting a large volume of
rock, but economic considerations limit the number which can be con-
ducted on a given job. Although plate jacking tests stress a somewhat
smaller volume of rock, they are advantageous because they are cheaper
and relatively easy to conduct a t many locations on a site. Field observa-
tions of instrumented structures, such as arch dams, also furnish valuable
information on the deformation modulus of in situ rock. Although these
measurements are taken after design,' they are helpful in advancing the
state of the art because a comparison of t,he pre-design determinations
with the observed modulus from the prototype behavior may indicate
definite steps which will improve present methods.
Rock Quality Designation, RQD, O/O

0 Monhotton Schist -6 Borings

o Roinier ~ e s oTuff -Averages From Two Locations
A Hockensock Siltstone
Fig. 8-Correlation o f rock quality as determined b y velocity ratio and RQD.

Plate Jacking Tests

The determination of the in situ deformation modulus by means of
a plate jacking test requires an apparatus which loads an a r i a larger
than the average spacing of discontinuities. I n addition, the load should
be transmitted to the rock medium in such a manner t h a t the loading, the
observed displacements, and the modulus of the loaded media are related
by an existing elastic solution.
Gicot18T a l ~ b r e ,lo~ ?and others have used relatively small (8 to 10-in.)
rigid cast iron or steel plates to apply the load to the surface of the rock.
I n such instances the test results are interpreted using the Boussinesq
rigid punch solution given by

where E, is the deformition modulus of the rock, P is the total force

applied to the rigid punch, v is Poisson's ratio of the rock, and 6 is t.he
measured displacement of the rigid punch of radius a. The use of this
method for determining the deformation modulus of rock masses is
definitely discouraged because the size of the loaded area is too small, and
a t higher loads the load settlement curve is influenced greatly by shearing
Larger metal plates (45 cm and 76 cm) have been used by the Bureau
of Reclamation l1 and by Waldorf, Veltrop and Curtis.'? As the size
of the metal plates increases, it can no longer be assumed that the plate
is rigid. The stress distribution beneath the plate is a function of the
modulus of the loaded medium, as well as thk modulus, thickness, and
radius of the plate as given by Borowicka.I3 Rocha, et alleviated the
stress distribution problem by applying the jack load through metallic
cushions filled with oil to yield a uniform stress distribut,ion.
Apparatus of the type Fig. 9 is currently being used by the
U. S. Bureau of Reclamation and Shannon and Wilson. Inc. Most of
the desirable features current,ly available for use in this type of equip-
ment are incorporated into the design. Freyssinet flat jacks are used to
apply a uniform load over an annular area (34-in. O.D. x 2-in. I.D.). I n
this particular set up, the space between the plates is maintained by
four 10-in. aluminum tubes; the load is applied by increasing the pres-
sure in both Freyssinet flat jacks from a common pressure source. Exten-
someters, attached'to a fixed reference beam, independently measure the
surface displacements a t the center of each loaded area. Carlson joint
meters are used to measure the displacement of points a t various depths
beneath the rock surface on the axis of loading.
The jacking test should be conducted up to pressures commensurate
with the changes in load imposed by the structure because the non-linear
behavior of the rock mass yields a different modulus of deformation for
each stress level. I n addition, the load should be maintained a t the stress
level of interest until creep deformations have occurred because the field
conditions will involve long time loadings. I t is also desirable to approach
the design stress in increments and to c,ycle the load several times to get
an indication of the addit.iona1 deformations which can occur because of
repetitive loading. A comparison of the readings of surface deformation







Fig. 9-Section through vertical jack test s e t a p . (After Shannon and Wilson.14)

gages and Carlson gages a t , depth beneath the plate jacking test is of
interest with regard to repeated loading. It is possible that the surface
gage may indicate considerable additional deformation with repeated
loading due t o shearing deformations along fractures close t o the tunnel
surface, whereas the deeper gage behind the surface of t h e tunnel may
,not show increased deformations due to repetitive loading.
A typical load-deformation curve for a plate jacking test is shown in
Fig. 10. This particular curve is concave downward, although in some
instances the deformation curve may be concave upward due t o a gradual
closing of the joints. Two cycles of load were applied in the test shown
(Includes Creep
P l u s Cyclic )
Fig. 10-Typical load-deformation relationship for a plate jacking or pressure chamber

in Fig. 10. The loads were held a t the peak stresses in each cycle until
the creep deformations ceased. If the design stress is a,, the appropriate
modulus of deformation should be calculated from the line OB in Fig. 10,
that is, the secant modulus of deformation a t the pressure level of interest.
For a uniformly loaded area, as shown in Fig. 11, the uniform load, q,
and the measured displacement, 6,, a t any depth, z, along the axis of
loading may be used to compute the deformation modulus of the rock
below depth, z, by

The measurements a t depth behind the plate jacking tests are important
Fig. 11-Calculation of the deformation modulus from measured displacements a t a n y
depth z along the symmetrical axis of loading.

if it is desired to measure the modulus of the rock mass which is not

influenced greatly by the shallow relief fractures near the surface of the
exploratory adit or tunnel. Waldorf, Veltrop, and Curtis l2 and Shannon
and Wilson l4 have made surface deformation measurements out to the
side of the loaded areas in plate jacking tests in an attempt to measure
the modulus of d e e ~ e rzones. However. the deformations observed are
generally so small *that they approach the 1imit.s of accuracy of the
measuring equipment.
The observed ratio of the elastic, recoverable 'deformation to the totai
deformation a t the peak stress, as shown in Fig. 10, should be recorded
for each test for use in future research since it is a measure of rock
quality. Serafim has correlated this quality ratio with the observed
deformation modulus for jacking tests conducted at Bemposta Dam.
Similar data from Shannon and Wilson l 4 consistently indicate that this
ratio is higher for the buried gages than for the surface gages. This
observation is consistent with and substantiates the c o n c e ~ of
t a decrease
of rock quality in the decompression zone.
After each test it is recommended that an NX core be taken for a t
least a distance of 15 ft behind each jacking test. The RQD of the re-
covered core should be determined as discussed previously. Moduli of
the intact cores should be determined in the laboratory from conventional
static tests and by the sonic pulse technique. I n addition, the NX hole
should be indexed with a sonic logger and, if possible, close seismic work
should be conducted in the area of each jacking test.

Pressure Chamber Tests

A pressure chamber test is conducted in a section of tunnel or explora-
tory adit which is plugged and lined with an impermeable liner as shown
in Fig. 12. The entire cylindrical surface of the tunnel section is then
loaded by filling the chamber with water and applying pressure with a
hydraulic pump. The deformations which result from the hydrostatic
loading. are measured by various types of diametrical extensometers
(Oberti and Shannon and Mrilson 14) and by strain meters (Multipurpose
Dam Rock Testing Group of Japan 15),or Carlson Joint Meters (Shan-
non and Wilson 14) installed a t various depths behind the tunnel surface.
Since the analysis of the pressure chamber test is dependent upon the
applicability of two dimensional thick walled cylinder theory, the test
chamber should be 5 to 6 diams long. It is absolutely necessary that the
chamber lining be impermeable to insure that hydrostatic pressures do
not develop within t h e jointed rock mass. Ideally the lining should be
impermeable but offer no resistance to the internal hydrostatic load.
Flexible rubber .bags satisfy this requirement, but the rock cannot be
excavated smooth enough to prevent rupture of the membrane. A thin
reinforced concrete lining, segmented b y four longitudinal joints (Fig. 12),
provides a smooth base for an impermeable rubber membrane which
transmits the full internal pressure to the rock because the liner cannot
take a continuous circumferential tension.
The application of an internal pressure, pi, at the internal radius, a,
First Air Vent
Horizontol Bars
Rubber Membrane
Vertical Bors

L Outlet O f Cables For

Meosurment - Pipe For A
Water Pressure Gouge

rJoint Meter
Longitudinal Joint

Fig. 12-Typical pressure chamber test set-up.

of an infinitely thick cylinder causes changes in stress distribution as

shown in Fig. 13(a). The change in circumferential stress a t the inner
- fiber is a tensile stress equal to the applied radial stress, pi. Since a rock
mass cannot transmit a tensile stress, some investigators (Bleifuss 16)
have objected to the use of elastic theory t o interpret the results of pres-
sure chamber tests. It should be pointed out, however, that the initial
stress distribution around an opening a t depth consists of a compressive
circumferential stress which peaks very near the opening as shown in
Fig. 13(b). Consequently, within the ranges of pressure normally used
in pressure'chamber tests (200 to 500 psi) the tensile change in circum-
ferential stress due to the internal loading only serves to decrease the
high initial circumferential compressive stresses. Therefore, the use of
single elastic thick-walled cylinder theory for the interpretation of pres-
sure chamber results is considered adequate provided the chamber is 5 to
6 diams long. Although it is realized by most investigators that a shallow
zone near the tunnel has a somewhat lower modulus than the surrounding
material, the thick walled theory for a homogeneous medium is normally
pi a 2
u, = ,z ( Compression)

: 8 '

=e t
(a) Changes In Stress Distribution From Application
Of The Chamber Pressure.

(b) Approximate Initial Stress Distribution Around A

Pressure Chamber

Fig. 19-Stress distribution and displacements around pressure chambers.

used. As exploratory methods become more commonplace for delineating
the extent of this decompressed zone, considerations should be given to
the analysis of pressure chamber tests by utilizing an elastic analysis
which accounts for and makes possible an evaluation of the modulus of
each layer. The use of elementary thick walled cylinder theory for a
homogeneous media is suggested, however, until the practicality of the
above approach is proven because the moduli values calculated from the
simple theory are conservative for design.
The radial displacement, 8, [as shown in Fig. 13 (c) 1, which occurs' a t a
radial distance r from t,he center of a pressure chamber located within a
homogeneous elastic medium is given by the expression

where a is the radius of the pressure chamber, and E,. and v are Young's
modulus and Poisson's ratio of the medium, respectively. For the special
case of the radial displacement a t the surface of the pressure chamber,
Eq. 3 reduces to
Pi 'a
a,=-(l+v) [41
which is cominonly used for calculating the rock mass moduli, E,, from
diametral measurements (Oberti I). I n cases where the radial displace-
ments are measured a t various depths behind the surface of the chamber
by means of Carlson joint meters (Shannon and Wilson 14),Eq. 3 should
be used to calculate the rock mass modulus. Experience in Europe
(Link li) indicates that the appropriate value of Poisson's ratio for use
in E q . 3 and 4 is about 1/7. This value would appear to be appropriate
for heavily jointed or slightly weathered rock, but a value of 0.25 should
be used for higher quality rock masses.
The desirability of obtaining measurements a t various depths behind
the pressure chamber walls cannot be overemphasized because a measure
of the deformation modulus behind the "decompressed zone" may be
obtained. Such measurements have been reported by Shannon and Wil-
son.14 the Multipurpose D a m Rock Testing Group of Japan,15 and
. J ~ d d . ' ~It is preferable however to utilize instrumentation t h a t will
measure radial displacements a t various depths rather than radial strains
a t localized points. The displacement measurements average the effects
of the imposed stress conditions over relatively large distances, whereas
the strain measurements are more spurious and may give quite different
results depending upon whether the strain gage is located near a joint
or within a joint block.
The importance of the loading sequence with regard to creep and
the effects of cyclic loading have been discussed with regard to jacking
tests and also apply to pressure chamber tests. In the area of each
pressure chamber test it is desirable to conduct several plate jacking
tests beforehand to obtain other supplementary data, such as seismic
velocities, sonic logging data, static and dynamic tests on intact cores,
and an evaluation of rock mass quality as discussed previously.


The general shape of a typical load-deformation-,curve from either a
plate jacking test or a pressure chamber test is given in Fig. 10. A
concave downward curvature is observed in most tests although in some
cases a concave upward load-deformation curve results because the stiff-
ness of the rock mass increases as the discontinuities close up. In very
high quality rock masses the load-deformation curve is practically
straight and displays very little permanent set after unloading; this
behavior was evident in the pressure chamber tests a t Koshibu Dam by
the Multipurpose Dam Rock Testing Group of ,Japan.l5 In poor quality,
highly jointed or weathered rock masses, however, the permanent defor-
mations are high ( > 60 percent) ; the modulus of the rock mass is a very
small fraction of the laboratory values of Young's Modulus determined
on intact specimens. The influence of rock quality on the ratio of per-
manent to total deformation, and the value of the measured deformation
modulus, is quite often illustrated from a single pressure chamber or
jacking test where surface displacement measurements are supplemented
by displacement or strain measurements a t depth. Frequently the load-
deformation curve in terms of surface displacements will yield a larger
permanent set, more hysteresis, and a lower modulus than will similar
data obtained from a gage a t a depth behind fractures near the surface
of the exploratory adit. These observations again emphasize the low
quality of the rock contained within the "decompression" zone and the
differences in behavior in a given rock formation which can occur because
of changes in the fracture pattern (rock quality). They also indicate that
the ratio of the permanent to total deformation is an indication of rock
quality and can be correlated with the measured value of the deformation
modulus, as observed and documented for Bemposta Dam by Serafirn.=
In areas of poor rock quality, grouting is often used to increase the
deformation modulus and decrease the permeability of rock masses.
Results of plate jacking tests conducted before and after grouting are
given by Rocha, et aL13 Rocha,' Serafim,hnd Benard.lg Similar data
from pressure chamber tests are given by Benard l%nd 0berti.l Results
from both plate jacking tests and pressure chamber tests show that the
deformation modulus a t all stress levels is increased by grouting and the
percentage of permanent deformation and hysteresis are significantly
reduced. Data from four dam sites given by Rocha, et al.3 indicate that
the ratio of the deformation modulus after grouting,ErB/ErA, ranged
from 0.5 to 1.0 and the average of all tests was 0.70. Tests by Benard la
gave values of ErB/ErAwhich ranged from 0.25 to 0.50, whereas the
results given by Oberti fall within the range given by Rocha, et In
general, the highly fractured rocks show the largest,percentage increase
in modulus after grouting except where the joints are considerably
weathered and contain clay fillings., I n these cases the deformation
modulus may not be increased by grouting because the mass will not
accept a.significant amount of grout.
The load-deformation characteristics obtained from plate jacking tests
are also a function of the orientation of the jack with respect to the
tunnel and the direction of discontinuities such as bedding planes or
planes of schistosity. Rocha, et a1.,3 Serafim,%nd Rocha * have reported
that the values of deformation moduli are consistently lower in the ver-
tical direction than in the horizontal direction for many locations. The
writers attribute this behavior to the effect of gravity forces opening
discontinuities in the roof. Experimental results reported by Serafim
and..Rocha, et al.3 yield values of the deformation modulus measured
vertically to that measured horizontally in a tunnel, E,/EH, which range
from 0.3 to 0.8. The average of all results given is about two-thirds. I n
cases where the bedding .planes or schistosity are vertical, the highest
compressibility is observed in the horizontal direction or in the direction
perpendicular to the bedding or schistosity. An example of the larger
deformations occurying in a direction perpendicular to the, bedding is
given by Chapman for pressure chamber tests conducted on Galleries 2
and 4 a t the Ffestinisg Puinped Storage Plant, North Wales.
The deformation moduli observed from jacking tests and pressure
chamber tests are definitely lower than the moduli calculated from seismic
velocities, for reasons discussed earlier in this paper. A .substantial
amount of field test data has been collected by Link1; as shown in
Table I. The tabulated values of the ratio of seismic modulus, ESeis,to
the modulus of deformation, E,, show a considerable range, as would be
expected. The variation of the ratio E,,,,/E, is probably due to differences
in rock quality from site to site, but qualitative data on the rock quality
from each site were not gathered by Link to enable such a comparison.
It should be noted however that the deformation modulus ranged from
one-sixteenth to one-third of the seismic values. For these sites, which
were grouted to increase the rock'quality, the deformation moduli ranged
from .14 to .39 the value of the seismic values.
It is obvious that the wide variations in the test data on deformation
moduli from site to site or even within the same rock unit a t a given site
cannot be explained or interpreted properly without utilizing a quantita-
tive measure of rock quality. I n the subsequent sections t,he application .
Table I. Comparison of Seismic and Static EF Values of Rock Masses Obtained Through Measurements a t Dam Sites
in Central Europe (After Link, 1964)

Dam E.e,.m P (During Unl.) (= :)
Name Country Rock Area 10'kg/cm2 Test kg/cm9 1Ogkg/crn'

~ a ~ p b o d e Germany banded slate valley bottom 190 jack load 3 7 (surface) >10
Sylvenstein Germany dolomite right slope 850 jack load 4G160 71-146 12-5.8
left slope 1100
Limberg Austria lam. limest. slopes 21G536 jack load
gallery 302-582
Speccheri Italy limestone . both slopes 550 jack load
Pieve di right slope 465 hydr. chamb.
Cadore Italy limestone Pian delle Ere 25G515 12 35, inj. 52 1G7
left slope 210
Val Gallina Italy limestone right slope 185 hydr. chamb. 5G25, inj. 40 7.4-3.7
left slope 175 39 4.5
Vajont Italy limestone upper slopes 33M60 hydr. chamb. 24 4MO 9-8
lower slopes 314-1400 40 120 up to 11
Mae Italy limestone valley bottom 870 hydr. chamb.
right slope 310 20 85, inj. 3.7
left slope 260 65, inj. 4
Fedaia Italy . limestone right slope 385 hydr. chamb. 25 75, inj. 5.2
left slope 395
Table I.-Co?~tinued.

Dam E..,., P (During Unl.) E"'""
Name Country Rock Area 10%g/cmD Test kg/cmP lO%g/cm" Eat., (= :)
Ambiesta Italy limestone right slope 325 hydr. chamb. 12 125, inj. 2.6
left slope 250 F
Reauregard Italy mica-schist right slope 850 hydr. chamb. 30 180 4.7 $m
mylonite left slope, nat. 30-150
mylonite left slope, inj. 9.5220 20 40-70, inj. 3.2-2.4 >
Forte Buso Italy .quartz- 320 hydr. chamb. 30 60 5.3 3
porphyry .- tG
Giovaretto Italy micaceous 850 hydr. chamb. 30 215 4.0 g
gneiss >
Pietra del >I
Pertusillo Itaky sandstone 250 hydr. chamb. 8/15 20, inj. 50 12-5 m
and conglom. o
Mulargia Sardinia porphyritic 750 hydr. chamb. 12 45 16.6

46M75 hydr. chamb. 35 190 parall. 3.51.3
(pump-stor. ~ieat unlined with strat. 8
plant) Britain silt-stone gallery
Ferrera, 420 hydr. chamb. 25 300 1.4
(power stat) Switzerland gneiss gallery concrete only
of rock quality indices to a more general method of int,erpreting deforma-
tion modulus tests will be discussed.

Use of Rock Quality Indices at a Specific Site

A comparison of rock mass quality indices and plate jack deformation
modulus has been made using- data from the site of Dworshak Dam. The
site is located in a high strength granite gneiss of excellent rock mass
quality near Orofino, Idaho. The quality indices provided a means of
explaining variations in deformation modulus obtained from the jack
tests and were useful for estimating the modulus of deformation for the
dam foundation.
A total of 24 vertical and horizontal plate jack tests were performed
in unlined adits in the rock abutments by Shannon and Wilson l4 for the
Corps of Engineers. The tests were performed using 34-in. diam
Freyssinet pressure pads to provide a uniform pressure on the rock
surface. Both surface deflections and the deflections of buried exten-
someters 'were recorded. The buried extensometers extended from ap-
proximately 1 or 2 ft to 18 ft beneath the surface. Elastic theory was
used to determine the deformation modulus from the pressure-deflection
relations for both surface and buried gages (Eq. 2 ) . N X core was taken
to a depth of 20 ft beneath the surface a t each jack test location. Un-
confined compression tests were performed on the intact core specimens.
Fracture frequency and RQD have been determined from the N X
core and compared with the plate jack deformation modulus. For each
jack test, the secant modulus of deformation for the complete loading
cycle to 1000 psi has been used. Separate moduli were determined for
the surface and the buried deflection gages. The near surface fractures
were more highly stressed and had a much greater effect on the deflection
of the plate than deeper fractures. Therefore, in order to compare the
rock mass quality indices with the corresponding plate jack deformation
modulus it was necessary to weight the quality indices by the Boussinesq
stress distribution beneath the plates. Fig. 14 shows the variation in the
quality indices with depth beneath one of the plate jacks, and illustrates
the weighting technique used. The weighted RQD for the buried gage
was 81 percent, corresponding to a deformation modulus of 6 . 0 lo6~ psi.
For the surface gage determination, the effect of fracturing around the
opening reduced the RQD to 69 percent and the deformation modulus
to 1.4 x lo6 psi.
In Fig. 15 the deformation moduli have been plotted against the RQD
determined a t all the jack test locations. The deformation moduli were
normalized by the static modulus for the intact specimens obtained a t
each jack test location. Variations in the deformation modulus ratio
(E,/E,J were therefore a function of the rock mass discontinuities, and
VC 912. ROOF


. . ..
~ n ~~anallrn
l ~ m u l v l 60 40lp.1
I.lohnd ROO 81 5
wolghnd ~ r o ~ ~ u r . % a p u n c y I 2 h l F l

Fig. 14-Illustration o f a method for obtaining a weigh.ted rock quality beneath a

plate jacking test.

not dependent on intact properties. (The intact modulus, Elab, was

approximately 9 x lo6 psi and did not vary greatly across the site.)
From Fig. 15 it is apparent that the deformation modulus determined
from the buried gages was consistently higher than the modulus obtained
with the surfaces gages. Most of the buried gages had an RQD greater
than 80 percent and a deformation modulus ratio greater than 0.50. The
majority of the surface gages had n rock quality less tshan 80 percent and
a deformation modulus ratio less than 0.60.
Even though the granite gneiss a t Dworshak was an excellent quality
rock, it is apparent that wide variations occurred in the plate jack deter-
mination of deformation modulus. It would be quite difficult to estimate
a deformation modulus for the dam foundation strictly on the basis of
the jack test results, without accounting for the character of the rock and
the fracture pattern a t the jack test site. The surface gages were strongly
affected by near-surface fractures caused by excavation of the adits. The
modulus determined from surface gage .information would therefore
probably yield modulus values too low for application to a dam founda-
tion having a much higher overall rock mass quality. The best estimate
of the dam foundation modulus appears to be the modulus determined
from the buried gages. The RQD for these gages corresponds most closely
with the overall quality of the foundation. By entering the graph in
Fig. 15 with the average RQD determined from exploratory drilling
across the dam foundation, an estimate of the foundation deformation
modulus can be obtained.
It is apparent from Fig. 14 that a few fractures near the surface have
a strong effect on the calculated RQD. The plate jack stresses such a
small volume of rock that a small error in estimating the number of
Rock Quality Designation, RQD
Fig. 16-variation of reduction factor with rock quality from plate jacking tests,
Dworshak Dam.

near-surface joints can cause considerable scatter in the data. Another

inaccuracy in the rock mass quality indices is that they do not account
for the width of the joint opening. Most of the fractures observed-in the
core were hairline, but some were slightly open. The slightly open joints
would lower the rock modulus even though the R Q D remains high.
Slightly open joints were observed with a bore hole camera in the core-
holes beneath the plate jacks. I n Fig. 15 the deformation modulus ratio
decreases so rapidly with decreases in R Q D that it is difficult to accurately
determine a modulus ratio with a given value of RQD. If the RQD
could be adjusted to account for the width of the joint openings, the rock
quality for a given determination would be lower and the slope of the
curve through the data points in Fig. 15 would be decreased, yielding a
more usable relationship.

Generalization of the Results of Deformation Modulus Tests

A general interpretation of the results of deformation modulus tests
which may eventually be used for correlating the result,s observed from
different sites requires that the following data be obtained. First, the
field jacking tests or pressure chamber tests must be conducted to deter-
mine the deformation modulus of the rock mass. Secondly, field seismic
velocities should be determined in the immediate area of the field test.
Thirdly, core borings must be made directly beneath the loaded area such
that laboratory tests can be conducted to determine the static modulus
and the sonic pulse velocity of the intact rock. The fourth requirement
is a quantitative assessment of the rock quality beneath the area loaded
in the field test.
The availability of the above information a t a given location makes
it possible to evaluate the ratio of the observed modulus of deformation,
E,, to either the seismic modulus, E,,,,, or the modulus of the intact core,
E l a b In addition, these ratios or reduction factors can be correlated with
the variation in rock quality. It is felt by the writers that much of the
variation and scatter in reported data could be explained or reduced to
a consistent trend if the rock quality were documented a t the location of
each test. This contention is corroborated by the Dworshak D a m tests
which showed a large range in measured values of deformation modulus.
However, a consistent trend was obtained for these results when rock
, quality was considered (see Fig. 15).
If the reduction factors, E,/E1:,k, and Er/Eseis, are primarily a function
of the rock quality, then it follows that it may be possible to establish a
relationship for reduction factor vs rock quality from test data obtained
from different sites as well as for a specific site (Fig. 15). Plate jacking
and pressure chamber test data have been collected from the literature
for case histories which satisfy the four requirements stated above, to
varying degrees. A summary of these test data is shown in Fig. 16; the
project and published source of the data are given in the key to Fig. 16.
I n Fig. 16, the ordinate is a ratio of the deformation modulus, E,, observed
from jacking tests or pressure chamber tests, to the modulus calculated
from the seismic velocity, ESeis.The abscissa is a measure of rock quality
which is given in terms of either the RQD or the square of the velocity
ratio, (Vseis/Vlnb)2.The data shown on Fig. 16 fall into a fairly consistent
trend with the reduction factor (E,./EsCis) falling off very sharply as the
rock quality decreases from 100 percent to 65 percent. A further decrease
in rock quality is not accompanied by a further decrease in the reduction
ratio. I t should be noted however, that. the reduction ratio is still very
low; the d a t a below a rock quality of 60 percent suggests t h a t the appro-
priate reduction factor to be used is between 0.1 and 0.2. I n general, an
interpretation of deformation modulus d a t a in the manner shown in
Fig. 16 shows considerable promise as a mea,ns of combining data from
different sites and from different locations on the same site. More data
are needed to substantiate the trend shown in Fig. 16 and a few qualify-
ing remarks are in order about sonle of the data used.
It 'should be noted that the rock quality indices of RQD and the square
of the velocity ratio are used interchangeably on Fig. 16. Experience a t
the University of Illinois and the data shown on Fig. 8 presently indicate
a one to one correspondence between R,QD and the square of the velocity
ratio. However, more d a t a is needed to further our knowledge about the
relationship between these two rqck quality indices. For some of the
case histories represented on Fig. 16 it was not always possible to docu-
ment from the literature if the core velocities used in the velocity ratio
index were determined from the exact location of the jacking or pressure
chamber test. I n addition, several points were based upon percent core
recovery rather than the modified core rccovery (RQD) because modified
core recoveries were not available. These points were used because
the error is in the conservative direction if the relationship in
Fig. 16 is used to estimatc the reduction ratio from a given value of rock
A general correlation of the type given in Fig. 16 could be a very useful
tool for an estimate of deformation modulus to be used in site select,ion
or preliminary design studies. With this correlation it would be possible
to estimate the deformation modulus on the basis of a seismic survey and
core recoveries were not available. These points were used because the
error is in the conservative direction if the relationship in Fig. 16 is
used to estimate the reduction ratio from a given value of rock quality.
An interesting point to be learned from a comparison of Figs. 15 and
16 is that the scatter of the data shown on Fig. 16 from all over the
world is about the same order as the variation shown on Fig. 15 from
tests on one site. I t may therefore be more practical and economical, a t
least in the prelinlinary stages of design or site selection, to use the general
correlation as given in Fig. 16 with seismic surveys and core borings in
lieu of performing expensive field tests. The engineer is ultimately faced
with determining an average rock quality in order to place his particular
location on either the general correlation given on Fig. 16, or on a plot
similar to Fig. 15 determined from field tests conducted a t the site of
interest. If the accuracy required for the particular problem a t hand
does not require a determination any closer than a factor of two or three,
a general correlation such as that shown on Fig. 16 should be used. If
Rock Quality, ( V F / V L ) , RQD
Fig. 16'-Variation o f reduction factor with rock quality.

greater accuracy is required, field tests should be used t o construct a

diagram similar to Fig. 15 for the particular site in question.
It is emphasized that more research is needed t o expand our knowledge
concerning the relationships between observed deformation moduli of
rock masses, intact rock properties, and the fracture pattern expressed
as rock quality. Field observations made with the intent of satisfying
the four requirements listed above are mandatory to advance the state
of the art.

Although every problem in rock engineering involves the shear strength
of the rock tn some degree, there are certain problems in mining engineer-
61 Dworshak Dam - P r e s s u r e Chamber T e s t (P) - Buried Gages, Shannon
Wilson (1964)
9 Dworshak - P r e s s u r e Chamber T e s t
Dam (P) - Surface Gages, Shannon
Wilson (1964)
Dworshak Dam - P r e s s u r e Chamber T e s t (E) - Buried
Gages, Shannon

P m r s h a k Dam - - Wilson (1964)

P r e s s u r e Chamber T e s t (E) Surface Gages, Shannon
6 Wilson (1964)
Dworshak Dam - -
Jacking T e s t s Surface Gages, Shannon 6 Wilson (1964)

0 Dworohak Dam - J a c k i n g T e s t s - Buried Gages, Shannon & Wilson (1964)

Latiyan Dam - I r a n , Lane (1964)

A Kariba Dam - S l i g h t l y Weathered Gneiss, Lane (1964)

V Kariba Dam - Beavily J o i n t e d Q u a r t z i t e , Lane (1964)

Nevada T e s t S i t e - Dacite Porphyry, Judd (1965)

4 Morrow P o i n t Dam, Bureau o f Reclamation (1965), Rice (1964)

Ananaigawa Dam, Kawabuchi (1964)

0 Agri River, I t a l y , L o t t i and Beownte (1964)

e Koshibu Dam - Jacking T e s t s

o ~oshibu ~ a r o- Pressure,Chamber T e s t s

v Onodera (1963)
a Vajont Dam, I t a l y , upper s l o p e , P r e s s u r e chamber T e s t , Link (19641,
Jaeger (1964)
Key to Fig. 16.

ing and civil engineering in which the shearing resistance of the rock
mass assumes prime importance. These problems may be divided into
the following categories: 1) the stability of cut slopes and natural slopes,
2) the sliding resistance to applied horizontal.forces, and 3) the stability
of underground openings. Each of these classes possesses its own peculiar
set of stress and deformation conditions with respect to gravity loading,
hydraulic loading, residual stress, and progressive failure. I n the follow-
ing paragraphs these conditions are examined in more detail for each
The remainder of the paper is devoted almost entirely to a discussion
of the shearing resistance along discontinuities in rock masses, particu-
larly to concepts developed from recent research a t the University of
Illinois and related research a t other institutions. Attention is first
directed toward an understanding of the effects of irregularities along the
failure surfaces. Both rock masses and initially intact rock specimens

have irregular failure surfaces. The study of these irregularities holds

promise of providing a common denominator for a failure theory t h a t
would permit a comparison of the shear strengths of intact rock speci-
mens and of rock masses. The insight into the failure mechanism of rock
masses, provided by an understanding of the effects of the irregularities
along the failure surface, leads to a critical appraisal of the requirements
for adequate testing: sample size, type of test, testing procedure, and
interpretation. Following a discussion of these points, several concluding
statements are given which appear pertinent to shear strength considera-

The Stability of Cut Slopes and Natural Slopes

Certainly one of the most difficult problems in rock or soil engineering
is to determine the factor of safety of a slope-either under natural
conditions or under conditions of a changing stress environment (such
as those imposed by excavation a t the toe of the slope, steepening of the
slope, loading of the slope crest, changing of the water level and direction
of seepage, dynamic effects of blasting, earthquakes, etc.). The diffi-
culties stem f r o m t h e fact that neither the stress conditions nor the
shearing resistance along the potential failure surface can be' predicted
with much accuracy. The dilenlma is further complicated by the change
in these quantities with time because of progressive failure and weather-
ing. The complexity of the problem has led Bjerrum and Jorstad 21 to
. . . The preceding discussion clearly shows that it is most unlikely
that it will ever be possible to obtain reliable determinations of the
data required for a theoretical calculation of the stability of a rock
slope. When the writers, in the course of their work, finally abandoned
the theoretical approach, it was, however, because, even in such cases
where reliable data could be determined, the final result of the stability
computation would not include the effect of the third factor listed
previously, which is believed to have the most important effect on
stability. The actual safety factor of a rock slope is almost entirely
dependent on how close the accumulated local internal stresses in the
solid rock areas across the potential failure surface are to the strength
of the rock. If they have been built up over the centuries to a value
near the strength of the rock, the next following rise in the cleft-water
pressure may be the last ''straw to break the camel's back,'' and the
rock slide will occur. . .
The third factor referred to above is the time effect in which a season-
ally fluctuating water table causes fatigue failure in the rock, a gradual
extension of the cracks in intact rock with irreversible deformations, and
a gradual reduction in the stability of the rock mass by a slow increase of
the internal stresses in the intact rock. Bjerrum and Jorstad 21 presup-
posed a failure surface that would, in part, follow joints and, in part, pass
through solid rock. They concluded that the best approach to the study
of the stability of rock slopes in Norway was to follow an observational
procedure because ". . . rock slides always seem to be preceded by
various indications such as a change in width of cracks, an increase in
discharge of water from the slope, and so on. . ." There is, no doubt,
much merit and practicality in the above philosophy. However, as re-
search experience accun~ulatesfrom the results of laboratory and field
testing currently underway in several organizations, as well as from
observations of actual slopes, it seems likely that in the future more
reliance will be placed on rational analysis and design of rock slopes.
I n civil engineering practice the selection of design slopes for rock
cuts for highways, canals, spillways, etc., is commonly related to the
general quality of the rock. For instance, a slope of % : l or % : l (hori-
zontal to vertical) may be specified for "sound, hard" rock; a slope of
M : l for "slabby, fractured" rock; and %:I to 1 : l for "highly weathered"
rock. The basis for the selection is strictly the designer's experience.
Slopes designed on this basis have generally performed successfully with
respect to near-surface stability and rock falls. Often, however, large-
scale slope failures have resulted because of the presence of through-going
bedding planes, joints, or faults dipping steeply into the excavation, as
shown on Fig. 1 7 ( a ) .

( 0 ) (b)
Rock Cut f o r Hiphway. Spillway. Concrete Dam or I n t a k e S t r u c t u r e
Power P l a n t . Tunnel P o r t a l . e t c .

Fig. 17-Typical civil engineering p2oblems involving shearing resistance.

The excavation of the rock at the toe removes the buttressing effect '
and the stability of the slope is dependent entirely upon the shearing
resistance developed along the geological discontinuity. The steepness
of the cut face does not enter into the problem a t all unless, of course,
it is flatter than the dip of the discontinuity, in which case there would
be no failure. Much of the effort in rock mechanics in the past, as well
as today, is in mapping and describing the character of the geological
planar or near-planar structures that occur a t a site (for example, John,??
in which the early development of this phase by the Austrian group is
discussed; also, Miiller 2 3 ) .
The determination of the occurrence and orientations of geological
planar structures that could form potential failure surfaces delineates
only the geometry portion of the problem. I n addition, the loading condi-
tions and the shearing resistance along the potential failure surfaces must
be assessed before a stability calculation can be made and the design
verified. The latter part of the paper deals with the shearing resistance;
some comments regarding the loading conditions are given in th'e following
I n rock slopes the critical driving force comes from gravity. This force is
constant; it is present in the beginning phases of the slope failure and con-
tinues through the final phase. Other forces also contribute to instability
and they may diminish as displacement of the sliding mass increases.
Such a force is that induced by the residual stress in the rock. As the
slope is excavated, either by natural erosion or by construction activities,
the horizontal component of the residual stress will cause some horizontal
movement (possibly with the formation of an "extension" crack parallel
to the slope-a so-called relief or sheeting joint). However, this move-
ment will cause the residual stress to diminish and it will not act as a
"followingJ1force on the sliding block. Thus, the residual stress may be
important in the early phase of the i~istabilitybut it cannot in itself cause
the final downward movement of the sliding mass. Actually, the greatest
contribution of the residual stress in slope failures is not its effect as a
part of the "driving force," but rather its role in reducing the shearing
resistance because of its contribution to progressive failure and to carry-
, ing the shear stress-displacement curve over the "peak" value to the
"residual." (See Skempton," Bjerrum,?Qnd P a t t ~ n . ~The ~ ) effect of in
situ rock stresses on slope design for open-pit mines has been discussed by
Wisecarver, et al.27 -
The ground water conditions in the slope may also act as a1driving
force. I n the cases where the rock is uniformly and heavily jointed and
a steady-state seepage condition has developed, the driving forces are
increased in the direction of the seepage in accordance with the principles
used in soil mechanics. Often, however, the jointing is irregular and the
individual joints have radically different permeabilities. Consequently,
the response of each joint to changes either in the recharge or discharge
conditions may be radically different and the piezometric levels will also
vary accordingly. A uniform flow net cannot be constructed and the
hydrostatic conditions in a slope can only be obtained by a large number
of piezometer observations. The driving force is increased in accordance
with the orientation of the joint in question, and with the hydrostatic
pressure acting on the joint walls corresponding to the piezometric level
of the water in the joint. The role of joint water has been discussed in
several recent papers ( T e r ~ a g h i ,Miiller,2g,
?~ 30 PacherlS1 and Serafim and

del Campo 3 2 ) .
Not only does joint water act as a driving force toward instability but
it may also decrease the frictional shearing resistance by reducing t,he
normal force across the walls of the potential failure surface. I n some
cases, it is probable that joint water is not a ('following" driving force.
It may cause the initial displacement, but as the displacement progresses
the joint widens, more volume is available for the water in the opened
joint, and the level of the water drops. The driving force will also de-
crease, and the motion of the sliding block may cease until the joint fills
again with water. Such continued action may lead to progressive failure,
as postulated by Bjerrum and . J ~ r s t a d . ~ l

Sliding Resistance to Horizontal Forces

This particular category of problems differs from the previous in that
the driving forces are essentially horizontal. The structures involved are
retaining structures; either hydraulic structures for retaining water or
some type of retaining wall for earth restraint. Fig. 17(b) illustrates a
typical hydraulic structure. R is the resultant of the gravity force of the
dam and the water pressure acting normal to the upstream face. S repre-
sents the shearing resistance along a geological discontinuity that could
be a potential failure plane.
Other hydraulic structures that must resist water pressure include
intake structures and certain types of spillway structures, walls of navi-
gation locks, and cofferdams bordering deep excavations in water. The
main driving force in all cases is the water pressure. It is a "following"
force, i.e., it is not decreased by the displacement associated with the
initial phases of failure. Thus, failures of hydraulic structures are very
often catastrophic, with little or no warning, for two reasons: 1 ) the
driving force continues to act a t full value following the initial displace-
ment, and 2) the shearing resistance of the rock decreases with continued
displacement, as is discussed in later sections of this paper.
The rock engineer can face no more difficult or responsible task than
that of evaluating the stability of the rock foundations and abutments

of dams. This responsibility has prompted civil engineers in the past

two decades to undertake in situ direct shear testing of jointed or bedded
rock, and of concrete blocks sliding over the in situ rock, in order to
better evaluate the shearing resistance along and below the base of the
dam. (See, for example, N i e d e r h ~ f f , ~ T h o ~ - f i n n s o n , ~ ~ Dvorak
and p e t e i l 3 ~Serafim and lope^,^' Se~-afim,~ R o ~ h a and, ~ Underw~od.~~)
Of equal importance in determining the shearing resistance along a dis-
continuity below the base of a dam is the distribution of the hydrostatic,
or uplift, pressure along the discontinuity. The normal force acting
across the joint or seam in question is reduced by the magnitude of the
uplift force, resulting in a lower frictional resistance. This uplift pres-
sure may vary from almost full reservoir head below the upstream face
to tail-water head a t the downst'ream of the dam. Both t'he distribution
a n d magnitude of the uplift pressure, however, will vary with the local
geology and the position and effectiveness of the grout curtain and line
of drain wells in the rock below the upstream sectionof tthe dam (Ter-
~ a g h i C, ~a ~~a g r a n d e Stuart,"l
,~~ and Serafim and del Campo 3 2 ) .
The second type of structures in this category is the earth retaining
structures. They include normal retaining walls and anchored walls t h a t
must resist all or part of the horizontal component of the earth pressure.
The earth pressure is a "following" pressure to a certain extent although
there may be some small reduction from the at-rest pressurc to the active
pressure as the wall displaces, provided that the wall has not yielded
sufficiently before to failure to have arrived a t the active pressure state.
The problems associated with the stability calculations are similar to
those for hydraulic structures although they usually are not so severe.
There may or may not. be hydrostatic problems to consider. One of the
problems associated with thcse structures is that they are usually founded
as shallow as possiblc into the rock. At this shallow depth there may be
weathered and jointed rock. The capability of this rock to resist the
imposed horizontal stresses is the design question; not only because of
the possible poor quality of the shallow rock, but also because there may
be very little normal load on the excavation side of the wall to generate
the frictional resistance along the shallow discontinuities. Tensioned rock
bolts have bcen used in front of such structures to provide for greater
normal loads, thereby increasing the frictional resistance.

Underground Openings
The stability of underground openings is a problem of concern to both
mining engineers and civil engineers. Mining engineers deal in general
with much deeper openings than do civil engineers. Both, however, are
interested in shallow underground excavations. The mining engineer is
concerned with various types of mine openings, and the civil engineer
with water conveyance and vehicular tunnels, undergroui~dpower plants,
missile silos, and underground product storage.
All these underground openings have one thing in common: the force
or forces that cause instability of the walls of the openings are not
"following" forces. As soon as the rock in the walls yields with the
initiation of instability, the circumferential stresses a t the wall of the
opening are decreased and the stresses are redistributed deeper into the
walls of the tunnel. After the initial yielding, the opening may become
stable because the yielding outer layer of rock is able to withstand the
lower stresses now existing in it without further yielding, and because the
deeper rock is in a state of triaxial confinement and capable of with-
standing the higher stresses transferred to it in the stress redistribution
I n deep mine workings in hard, massive rock, the failure of the mine
walls is often characterized by slabbing or extension-strain fracturing
rather than by shear failure. (See Chapter 5 and recent article by Fair-
hurst and Cook.42) This phenomenon was also observed by Cording 43 a t
shallow depths in two large underground openings in a low strength but
massive, relatively unjointed rock. In jointed rock, however, shearing
displacements do occur along the joints, both in the shallow rock a t the
walls of the opening and a t considerable depth. (Within the authors'
experience are three large underground openings where 2 in. to 3 in. of
shearing displacement occurred along a joint or shear zone; the joint
blocks affected measured up to 75,000 cu ft and extended to depths of
20 ft to 30 ft into the wall.)
Although the stresses that cause the yielding and the initiation of
instability are not "following" forces in their entirety, thc yielded rock
blocks are subjected to gravity and unless they are supported by artificial
supports of some kind they may fall out. The question of the type of
support and the interaction of the support system and the surrounding
rock are important aspects of rock engineering (Terzaghi 44 and Lang 45).
The shear strength of the rock mass surrounding the opening is cer-
tainly important in determining the amount and depth of destressing of
the rock, as shown by Reyes 4 6 in his theoretical studies of the develop-
ment of a plastic zone. However, it is doubtful if a knowledge of the shear
strength parameters of the rock mass surrouilding a tunnel, or any under-
ground opening, is nearly as important as for the two classes of shear
strength problems previously discussed. For underground openings, the
stability is affected by modes of failure other than just shear failure, and
it is probable that support design based on anticipated displacements of
the tunnel walls and the interaction of the support system and the rock
is a more valid one. The recent developments in measurement techniques
of wall movement and of the !oads in tunnel supports (Parker and Scott,47
Waddell,'s Underwood and Di~tefano,~"artmann,~~ and Cording 43)
have furthered our understanding of these concepts and will lead to more
efficient designs in the future.


Some insight into the shearing behavior of in situ rock masses can be
obtained by examining t,he shearing resistance of rock surfaces. Different
failure envelopes can be obtained from specimens of the same material
by varying the smoothness and geometry of the surface of sliding. The
different failure envelopes and their relation to the failure mechanisms
are described below.

Relatively Smooth Rock surface;

Smooth polished surfaces of mineral specimens will give a variety of
angles of surface friction depending upon the degree of smoothness and
the surface moisture conditions (Horn and Deere j
. I n nature, how-
ever, rock surfaces are rarely monominerallic or highly polished and
flat surfaces are seldom encountered. Recent work by Patton 2G suggests
that, with large displacements, initially polished rock surfaces become
scratched and gouged and the angle of frictional sliding resistance, 4,
increases from some initial low value to a value, +, which is similar t o
what one obtains if the prepared surface is sawn planar but not polished.
On the other hand, if the original surface is quite rough, it becomes pro-
gressively smoother with increasing displacement and the angle of fric-
tional sliding resistance decreases from some initial high value to some
lower value, +,, the angle of residual sliding resistance. The two angles, 4,
and +,., are of similar magnitudes.
Fig. 18 indicates a typical failurc envelope obtained from direct shear
tests on a series of rock specimens with relatively flat but unpolished sur-
faces, for a stress range of normal stresses of 0-75 psi. The value of 4,
for most rocks is commonly between 25 and 35 degrees.

Failure Envelopes for Intact Rock

If a series of identical intact rock specimens are sheared in a direct
shear device and their maximum strengths S are plotted vs their normal
loads N, a maximum strength failure envelope similar to that shown in
Fig. 19 is obtained. The inclination of this envelope is commonly steeper
than 4, or 4, and the symbol 4, (angle of internal shearing resistancej is
sometimes used to describe the slope of the envelope. . T h e value of 4, is
commonly between 35 and 65 degrees, decreasing with higher normal loads
( P a t t ~ nsee
, ~ also
~ Maurer j').

Normol Lood, N Normol Lood, N
Fig. 18-Failure envelope -for specimens Fig. 19-Manmum strength failure en-
with flat surfaces. velope for intact specimens.

If the displacements are continued on the same specimens, the shearing

resistance will drop until it finally reaches an asymptotic minimum value
corresponding to the residual failur stress (Fig. 20). Fig. 21 shows the
two envelopes drawn through the and minimum values of
shear strength obtained from each The vertical distance be-
tween the two envelopes indicates t lost with continued

Failure Envelopes for Inclined Surfaces

If the shearing surfaces are inclined a t some angle i to thedirection
of the shearing force, then the shearing resistance for displa'cements along

Horizontal Displacement, x Normal Lood, N
Fig. %-Shear strength versus hon- Fig. 21-Manmum strength and re-
zontal displacement showing maximum sidual failure envelope for initially intact
and residual stresses. specimens.
the inclined surface is given by S = N tan ( + + i ) . This relationship was
developed by Newland and Allely,5Vipley and Lee,54 and wither^.^^
Fig. 22 illustrates the type of failure envelopes that can be obtained
from relatively flat inclined surfaces. For comparison purposes the
envelope obtained for sliding friction along a surface parallel t o the
shearing force is shown as line A in each part of Fig. 22. From Fig. 22 ( a )
it can be seen that the maximuin value of + + i is 90 degrees. From
Fig. 22(b) it can be seen t h a t the upper block will slide under no shearing
forcewhen - i = +.,

Failure Envelopes for Multiple Inclined Surfaces

This case is thought to represent more closely the condition of real
rock surfaces than the preceding examples. I n order to reduce the num-
ber of variables, a relatively horizontal surface containing a number of
irregular 'teeth' will be considered. The size and shape of the teeth are
identical, each having a surface inclined a t an anglc i to the direction
of application of the shearing force. I n addition, they have a constant
internal strength identical to the rock mass itself. The small diagram in
Fig. 23 illustrates such a specimen., If a series of identical specimens are
tested a t different normal loads, then the maximum strength failure en-
velope shown in the figure as line CAB could be drawn through the
maximum shearing strengths. If the displacen~entswere continued after
the initial failure and the residual shearing resistance recorded for each
specimen, thcn the residual failure cnvelope, line OC, could be drawn
through these results.

Normal Load, N Normal Load, N

b) Negative Inclination O ) Postive Inclination

Fig. 22-Failure envelopes for inclined surfaces.

Relatively Smoath
c Rock Surface

Normol Lood. N
Normal Load, N
Fig. 3-Failure envelopes for multiple Fig. 24-Failure envelopes expected for
inclined surfaces. rock masses.
Maximum-strength failure envelopes such as line OAB have been ob-
tained experimentally (Patton 2 6 r 5 6 ) . Line OA is obtained a t low normal
loads where the maximum shearing strength is related to the frictional
sliding resistance along the inclined surfaces. A t the point of failure, the
frictional resistance along the inclined surfaces is equal to the internal
shearing resistance of the teeth. Shearing failures related t o lihe OA
are accompanied by displacements perpendicular to the direction of the
shearing force. Line AB is obtained a t high normal loads, where the
maximum shearing strength is unrelated t o sliding along the inclined
surfaces. T h e horizontal displacements occurred by shearing off the
teeth a t their basc. Displacements perpendicular to the shearing force
are very small in relation to those occurring for tests in the range OA.
The vertical distance between the lines OAB and OC indicates the
amount of shearing resistance lost with displacements. It can be seen
t h a t although there is no cohesion intercept, there is a very real contri-
bution by t h e internal "cohesive" strength of the teeth a t all normal
loads other than zero. This contribution of thc internal "cohesive"
strength of the teeth rcaches a maximum value when the teeth are
sheared off a t their basc and remains constant for higher normal loads.
For curve OA, the cohesion mobilized is directly proportional to the
normal load. For curve AR. the cohesion mobilized is independent of
the normal load. Maximum-strength failure e n ~ c l o p e shaving two slopes,
such as OAB, can be related to two different modes of failure.
Fig. 24 illustrates the types of failure envelopes t h a t can be expected
for rock masses having the same mineralogy and strength of "intact"
material. T h e vertical distance between the residual strength failure
envelope and the particular maximum strength failure envelope indicates
the strength contributed by the natural irregularities along the failure
surface for a given normal load.
The shear strength relationships described above have been demon-
strated for tests on simulated rock surfaces made of plaster. A review
of the literature has indicated that the published results of shear tests
on rock agree with these relationships (Patton 2 0 ) .

Size of Specimen
Shear strength tests can be thought of as occurring a t three different
scales: small laboratory specimens, larger in situ specimens, and the
still larger potential failure surface in an actual field problem. If the
rock mass were homogeneous, isotropic, and continuous, and if the
shearing forces and constraints could be applied in the same manner, then
the three sizes of samples might give nearly the same results. However,
rock masses are almost always heterogeneous and anisotropic in the dis-
tribution of their physical properties. Also, they are highly discontinuous
due to the presence of bedding planes, joints, faults, etc., having a variety
of orientations. Because of these factors tests on different sizes of rock
masses will generally give different results. I n order to make rational
designs the nature of these differences must be understood since it is
impossible to test the entire critical failure surface.
Fig. 25 illustrates two types of surfaces of rock masses from which
different sizes of specimens will give different shear strength character-
istics. I n Fig. 25(a) all three tests will indicate different shear strength
characteristics. I n Fig. 25(b) the results from the laboratory and in situ
tests may be similar but they would still bejdifferent from those obtained
if the entire failure surface were tested. r
The largest in situ shear strength tests are those reported by Salas
and Uriel 5 7 on 4m x 4m shearing surfaces and those reported by Nose 58
whose specimens had a shearing surface 2.5m x 3.5m. More commonly
in situ tests have a failure plane with an area of 1 sq m or less. Only
one series of large in situ triaxial shear strength tests has been reported..
These were made for Kurobe D a m in Japan and the specimens were
1.4m x 2.8m x 2.8m (.John 2 2 and Nose 5 8 ) .

Equivalent Specimens
To construct a failure envelope i t is usually necessary to obtain strength
results from a series of equivalent specimens. ow every in a given rock
mass it is almost impossible to obtain such identical specimens, even if
they are all of the same size and from the same block of rock. Each
specimen will have a slightly different mineralogy, internal structure,
--i~s"I+- ' Size Of In-Situ

Size Of Lab. Test Test

10 to 100's of f e e t
S i z e Of Actual Failure Surface In Field Problem

\ F -
Lab. Test
In-Situ Test
~ i26-Effect
~ : of different sizes of specimens.

and degree of internal fracturing. Thus, it is often difficult to compare

the results of tests on a series of apparently similar specimens and come
to some basic understanding of their strength characteristics. For this
reason it seems likely that the fundamental shear strength relationships
can best be developed by the use of artificial'materials (artificial rock)
where the variables can be controlled rather than through series of tests
on real rocks.

Sample Orientation
Since rock is normally anisotropic, the direction of application of
normal and shearing forces on the potential failure planes should cor-
respond to those that will be applied in the real problem. I n situ tests
should have their applied'loads so orientated; it .is important that all
laboratory samples be carefully orientated before they are removed from
their field location. The necessity for sample orientation is, especially
apparent when rock discont,inuities are tested. For example, Fig. 26
shows an example of a discontinuity typical of bedding planes having
current ripple marks. It is apparent that different types of shear strength
(S,, S,, S,) would be encountered for tests conducted in the three direc-
tions indicated. If. the shearing force were inclined to this plane, then the
shear strength would vary even more.
Fig. 26-Rock surface showing how shearing strength can vary with orientation.

Testing Economics
I n situ tests are usually extremely costly and time consuming in com- .
parison with laboratory tests. Tunnels are usually required to provide
entry to the specimen area. Near the specimen all excavation must follow
hand mining procedures to avoid damage to the rock from explosives.
Blasting is often kept 3 ft to 6 ft away from the specimen, depending
upon the blasting method used. Even when the specimen area is pro-
tected from blasting, important changes may occur in the specimen due to
displacements resulting from stress relief. Finally, loading jacks and
auxiliary equipment are heavy and bulky because of the large loads that
must be applied to the larger in situ specimens to reach the same stress
achieved in the smaller laboratory specimens. The time and cost of in
situ testing make it essential that the location of the tests be carefully
selected and the tests conducted so that as much information as possible
is gained from each test specimen. Often repeated tests are made on
the same specimen. This procedure can provide more information but
such tests are more difficult to interpret.

Both direct shear and triaxial tests have been used in the field and
in the laboratory to obtain the strength characteristics of rocks for'the
solution of practical problems. The great majority of field tests have
been direct shear tests, whereas the laboratory tests have been divided
between direct shear and triaxial compression tests (including uniaxial
compression tests).
The object of the test should be to reproduce as closely as possible
the loading displacements and conditions of restraint imposed upon the
failure surface in the field problem. All testing procedures tend to impose
some unnatural conditions upon the specimen that would. not be en-
countered in the real field problem. Hence, if the laboratory or in situ
tests are t o be of any practical use, these unnatural conditions must be
kept to a minimum and their effects must be understood.
Some direct shear tests have a n advantage in t h a t they permit relatively
free movements perpendicular to the failure plane, thus the sample is free
t o undergo bulk volume increases in thc failure zone much as i t would in
nature. Triaxial tests on the other hand. restrict movements perpendicu-
lar to the failure plane. There is somc objcction t o direct shear tests
in t h a t they may have a greater tendency t o promote progressive failures
than do triaxial tests.
At first glance the dircct shear test appears t o be quite simple. How-
ever, there are several variations in the sequence of loading, orientation
of forces, and repeated testing of the same specimen which can compli-
cate the interpretation of the test results. I n general, the direct shear
test consists of the application of a normal load N t o the anticipated
failure plane of a specimen followed 1)y the shearing of the ~ p e c i m e nwith
a'force S which is applied more or less parallel t o thc failure plane. T h e
maximum shear strengths obtained from a scries of tests are then plotted
on a shear strength diagram a t their corresponding normal loads. Fig. 27
shows the usual summary diagrams for results of a scrics of direct shear
tests conducted a t different normal loads.

Inclination of the Shearing Force

A variation of the direct shcar test widely used today is shown in
Fig. 28. I n this test the shearing force is inclined so t h a t its line of
action meets t h a t of the normal force a t the center of the anticipated fail-
ure surface. Such a loading system helps avoid the tendency to develop
a shearing couplc and the formation of tensile cracks on the side of the
specimen next t o thc applied shearing force. However, there are some
disadvantages t o inclining the shearing force.
T h e first disadvantage is t h a t a new variable is introduced into the
test, t h a t of a changing normal load. T h e inclined shearing force causes
the specimens t o reach failure along a different stress path than the
specimens tested according t o the method shown in Fig. 27.
I n some field problcms, such as slope stability problems and dam
foundations, the normal load is relativcly constant with displacements
along the failure plane. I n other problems the normal load increases
with shearing displacements as, for cxample, in the rock surrounding
underground openings.
Another more serious disadvantage of a n inclined shearing force is
that i t becomes inlpossible t o obtain results in the shaded portion of the
shear strength diagram in Fig. 2 8 ( b ) . Yet, this is an area of interest in
many practical problems. I n addition, unless the interpreter of the d a t a
is careful, the area of "no test results" m a y influence his selection of the
Normal Stress, u, Normal Stress, on

(b) (b)
Fig. %7-Typical results f r o m direct shear , Fig. ' 2 8 - ~ y p i c a l results f r o m direct
test o n intact rock. shear test o n intact rock with 'inclined
shearing force.

slope of the failure envelope. The 'iaterpreter may be tempted to draw

a steeper failure envelope than he inight otherwise, particularly a t low
normal loads.

Progressive Loading Tests I

It is not uncommon to make several strength tests on the same speci-
men, particularly with in situ tests. More information can be gained by
repeated testing but the tests are more difficult to interpret. Repeated
testing of the same specimen is referred to as a progressive loading test.
I n a progressive loading test a normal load is applied and the shearing
force increased until a maximum shear strength is reached. As soon
as a maximum shearing resistance can be established, the shearingfforce
is reduced to prevent additional displacements. Then the normal load is
increased and the shearing force is increased until a new maximum shear-
ing resistance is obtained. This procedure is repeated until the test is
completed. A variation of this test is to add the highest normal load
first, obtain the shearing resistance, and then decrease the normal load
for each successive test.
Repeated rupture of the same specimen can seldom be accomplished
without progressive change of the structure along the failure surfaces.
The structural changes decrease the strength in succeeding tests to some
degree. Also, one would expect quite different shapes of iailure envelopes
to result from progressive loading tests made for a series of increasing
normal loads than for a series of decreasing normal loads. When the
highest normal load is applied first, greater structural changes will occur
along the failure plane for a given displacement and this will influence
the results of all succeeding tests made a t lower normal loads.
Another variation of a progressive loading test is to keep returning
the parts of the specimen to their original position between each shear
test. This variation .tends to reduce the effects of progressive loading
when irregular rock surfaces are being tested and the normal loads are
applied in iricreasing amounts.

Displacement Meaeurements
Displacement measurements both parallel and perpendicular to the
anticipated failure surface are required during direct shear tests. With
these measurements the direction of movement along the failure surface
can be determined a t different stages of failure. It is possible to establish
if bulk volume changes occur in the specimen.. If displacements occur
perpendicular to the failure plane, then for some problems it may be
important to know the normal load a t which these "vertical" displace-
ments cease'to occur. Other times it may be necessary to know the dis-
placements parallel to the failure plane that were required to reach the
maximum and residual shear strengths.
From the displacement measurements one can estimate the influence
of the geometry of the failure surface (i.e., the angle of inclination i ) .
and the 'mode of failure. At least two, and preferably three or four,
displacement measurements are required perpendicular to the failure
surface. Af least one, and preferably two or four, measurements are
required parallel to the failure surface. (See Serafim 5.)'

Other Teet Variablee

The moisture content of test specimens should be kept similar to that
of the failure surface in the real problem. Even with in situ tests it is
sometimes difficult to prevent the specimen from drying out. If appre-
ciable amounts of clay minerals are present, the test procedures should
be similar to those used in soil mechanics-waibing for consolidation to
be completed after application of the normal load and before applying
the shearing force, etc.
The most appropriate rate of application of the shearing force has not
been established. However, loading shol~ldnot be so fast as to induce
porewater pressures in excess of those that will be developed in the field
problem. When rock fails under low normal loads, the accompanying
volume expansion will have considerable effect upon the porewater pres-
sures along the failure surface. If water or air is prevented from entering
the failure surface, negative porewater pressures may develop.
During a shearing failure the shearing resistance of a failure surface
has been demonstrated to depend largely upon the strength of the'irregu-
larities. The influence of the porewater pressures within these irregu-
larities is not understood.


Test results are commonly ambiguous in that from the same data each
interpreter may draw a different failure envelope (see Figs. 27 and 28).
The shape of the failure envelope will reflect the prevailing failure theory
and the knowledge of the failure mechanism available to the interpretor.
Also, the purpose for whizh the tests were made may influence the choice
of failure envelope, some envelopes being more conservative than others.
If progressive loading tests were made, the results should be interpreted
in a different manner than if a series of specimens were tested only once.
Failure envelopes can be interpreted as straight lines or as curved
lines which usually more closely correspond to the data. Straight-line
failure envelopes may be acceptable for some engineering purposes but
they can lead to many complications in understanding the failure mecha-
nism of rocks. For example, a straight-line relationship between the
shear strength and normal loads suggests that only a single mode of
failure is operative. However, it has been demonstrated how multiple
modes of shear failure occur in rocks with irregular surfaces.
Often the results are extrapolated into stress ranges both higher and
lower than the range tested. Such extrapolations are likely to be fictitious
unless the interpreter has some mental framework or working ,hypothesis
to guide him. The framework that appears to hold the most promise for
understanding the shearing strength of rock masses is that provided by
the knowledge of the shearing behavior of irregular surfaces.
Several conclusions can be drawn from studies of the shear strength of
materials with irregular surfaces that appear to be significant in the
solution of practical problems with rock masses. The more important of
these conclusions are listed below: I
1) The surface geometry and internal strengths of the irregularities
along the failure surface must be considered.
2) The maximum strength failure cnvelopc generally has a t least two
distinct slopes, each related to a different mode of failure of the irregu-
larities along thc failure surface.
3 ) The strength reductions caused by previous or anticipated displace-
ments along the rock discontinuities have an important effect upon the
resulting shear strength. This cffcct is different for high stress levels than
for low stress levels.
4) The sampling and testing procedures can have a considerable effect
upon the test results and their interpretation.
5) Interpretation of test results in a manner consistent with the failure
mechanism holds promise of providing more insight into the solution of
practical shear strength problems.


The Factor of Safety
Estimating the safety of rock slopes is a difficult task which a t present
can only be imperfectly done. However, it is believed that some progress
may be made by applying the concepts previously developed for irregu-
lar surfaces.
First consider a block resting on a relatively smooth surface as shown
in Fig. 2 9 ( a ) . I n Fig. 29 (b) thc forcks are resolved into their components
acting parallel and perpendicular to the surface. If we define the factor
of safety F S as the ratio of the forcc tending to resist sliding, N tan +,
to the force tending to cause sliding, W sin p, then
W cos p tan + -- tan +
w sin p - t a n p ' [51
When the block is on the point of failure and about to slide downhill, the
factor of safety will equal 1.0, or from Eq. 5 tan + = t a n p or + = p
(Terzaghi and Peck 5 9 ) . I n other words, when the block is about to slide

Fig. 19-Forces acting on a block resting on a relatively smooth inclined surface.


the inclination of the sliding surface P is equal to the angle of sliding

friction +.
The case of rock masses resting on natural discontinuities is just
one degree more complex. Fig. 30 shows a cross-section of a rock mass
resting on an irregular discontinuity. The block can slide downhill in
either of two modes of failure. It can move along the surface of the
irregularities with an effective inclination of P-i or i t can shear off
the irregularities and more parallel to the average inclination of the
If one assumes that the block will move along the surfaces of the
irregularities, the factor of safety against sliding would be the same a s
though the rock were resting on the flatter slope of P-i and
tan +
FS= tan (P-i)'
However, if the rock mass is assi.~medto move parallel to the average
dip of the cliscontinuity, the factor of safety against shearing would be
tan (+-ti)
t,an p '
When the factor of safety is 1.0 Eqs. 5 and 6 reduce to P-i=+. Hence,
for slopes where the factor of safety is 1.0, it does not matter which equa-
tion is used. However, Eq. 6 does not account, for the possibility of shear-
ing off of the irregularities. Eq. 7 does account for this a t low normal
loads. Hence, Eq. 6 should not be used.
Eq. 7 is also incomplete, however, in t h a t i t describes the factor of
safety for a material with a straight,-line failure envelope whose slope
is tan ( + + i ) . But it has been indicated that such a failure envelope

F i g . 30-Sketch of a rock mass yesting o n a,n inclined irregular discontinuity.

describes the- behavior of real rock masses only approximately a t low
normal loads a n d n o t a t all a t high normal loads. Hence, it is important
when using Eq. 7 to know its limit of applicability. Fig. 31 illustrates
the difference between the idealized failure envelope, used in Eq. 7, and
a real failure envelope and shows the limit of applicability of the equa-
tion. The limit of applicability occurs at a lower normal stress for weak
rocks than for strong rocks.
The limit of applicability of 4 and i can be estimated from laboratory
and in situ direct shear tests. The angle i can, and should, also. be
estimated from field observations.
The importance of recognizing uncemented, mylonitic zones in the
rock mass or other evidence of past shearing displacements cannot be
overemphasized. I n terms of Eq. 7 such movements have the effect of
reducing the angle of the irregularities i, while also lowering the limit

Real Maximum Strength Failure

Envelope For Typical Rock Mass

Approximate Limit Of Applicability

Of Equation ( 7 )

.. I L
Normal Stress, U,

Fig. %-Shear strength diagram showing limit o f applicability o f Eq. 7.

of applicability of the equation. The factors of safety cannot be divorced
from considerations of displacements.

Observations of Natural Rock Slopes

Over 300 rock slopes in the Rocky Mountains of the United States and
Canada were examined in a recent survey on the stability of natural
slopes (Patton ' C ) . Several conclusions from this study are pertinent to
this discussion.
One object of the study was to compare labor$tory values of the angle
of frictional sliding resistance with the field values obtained f r o m ob-
servations of stable, unstable, and failed slopes. It was found t h a t the
residual angle of frictional sliding resistance (i.e., after large displace-
ments) obtained from wet rough-sawn rock surfaces corresponded most
closely with the values obtained in the field. This lab-oratory value of
frictional sliding resistance is thought to correspond to t,he angle of fric-
tional sliding resistance + that is operative in most field problems. The
laboratory testing program included sandstone and carbonate rocks.
Another observation concerned the scale of surface irregularities most
effective in field problems. It was found that the first-order irregularities
had the greatest effect upon slope stability. Apparently the smaller
second-order irregularities lost their effectiveness when stress relief,
slope creep, earthquake forces, or other natural processes caused them
to be sheared off or overridden. Fig. 32 illustrates the difference between
first- and second-order irregularities.
From field observations of sandstone and carbonate rock slopes it
was found, as expected, that the rock slopes were stable when the dis-
continuities were flatter than the residual angle of frictional resistance 6,
(obtained from the rough-sawn laboratory specimens.) The angle 4,
varied from 24 to 33 degrees for different sandstones and 32 to 36 degrees
for carbonate rocks. Hence, the field observations agree with the theory
that when p<+, the rock mass will be stable.
For slopes where @>>+,. (over 45 to 50 degrees) very few unbuttressed
rock masses werc observed. I n such cases the extra shear strength con-
tributed by the irregularities is generally not sufficient to prevent failure.
Thus, as soon as such rock masses are undercut they tend to fail quickly.
The result is rock slopes that have frequent but relatively small rock-
slides. Fig. 33 illustrates this type of slope.
The rock slopes which can be potentially the most dangerous are
thought to be those in which the average slope of the discontinuities is
a few degrees greater than the residual shearing resistance, i.e., where
p=30 to 45 degrees (Fig. 34). In such cases even small irregularities can
provide sufficient additional shearing resistance to prevent sliding when
the support is removed from the toe of the rock mass. Large rock masses
~ v e r o ~ Dip
e' /'

Fig. %-An ezample of a discontinuity illustrating first and second-order irregularities.

can be left unbuttressed in this manner as a result of river downcutting

or man-made cuts. The stability of such a mass then becomes dependent
upon the strength of the irregularities and the small displacements re-
quired to override or shear off these irregularities. The detrimental effect
of displacements upon the shear strength is accumulative throughout the
life of the slope. Displacements can accumulate from stress relief, stress
concentration, earthquake forces, etc. The stability of the rock mass
can also be upset if either a smoother discontinuity or a discontinuity
having previous shearing displacements along it are uncovered a t the
base of the slope.
It is interesting to note that the inclination of the principal disconti-
nuities involved in some of the more disastrous rock slides of this
century were in this latter category where P=30 to 45 degrees. For ex-
ample, in the Madison Canyon rock slide in Montana P=35 to 50 degrees
in the lower part of the slope. I n the Vajont rockslide in Italy /3-30 to
No Unbutressed Rocks
On Discontinuity

This Rock Mass Will Be Involved

I n Next Rock S l ~ d e


Fig. 33-Typical cross section of rock slope where dip o f critical discontinuities
ezceeds 45 to 50 degrees.

50 degrees, and in the Frank slide, Turtle Mt., Alberta p-34 to 45 degrees.
The Frank slide is particularly interesting in that the critical disconti-
nuities a t the sides of the rockslide were inclined a t angles of less than
34 degrees on one side and'more than 45 degrees on the other.

Fig. 34-Typical cross section of rock slope whe're dip of critical discontinuities is
between SO and 45 degrees.
Progressive Failures
When one's attention is directed towards the irregularities along the
failure surface it is easy to understand how all failures of rock masses
must involve progressive failure to some degree. A progressive failure
is one where the maximum shear strengths of all the resisting elements
along the failure surface are not utilized a t the same time. Those natural
irregularities that are the smallest, have the weakest internal strength,
and have the steepest surfaces relative to the average direction of the
failure plane will be sheared off first. The shearing resistance contributed
by these small irregularities will be transferred to their neighbors. If the
potential failure plane is a discontinuity sloping a t more than 6, then
the unit of the rock mass supported by the small irregularities will move
downhill until additional shearing resistance is provided by the next
downhill block.
If the progressive failure continues, the lower rock units along a poten-
tial failure plane will be resisting a much greater portion of the shearing
force than the upper rock units. This downward shift in the shearing
forces would be accentuated with an increasing intensity of jointing
perpendicular to the failure surface, with an increasing normal force in the
upper portion of the rock mass, with an increasing inclination of the
discontinuity, and with increasing displacements along the discontinuity,
among other factors. (See also discussion of progressive failure by Bjerrum
and .Jor'~tad,~'Skempton," Bjerrum,?' and P a t t ~ n . ~ ~ )
This discussion on progressive failures points out the importance of
protecting the integrity of the lower portion of the rock mass. I n addi-
tion, if high shearing forces will be acting on the lower portion of the
discontinuities, then correspondingly high normal forces are required to
provide the shear strength. Hence, questions of the shape of the rock
slope, the sequence and type of construction, the artificial support re-
quired, and the slope drainage should be directed towards the reduction
of displacements and the maintenance of high normal loads on discon-
tinuities, particularly a t the toes of rock slopes. It would also~appearthat
differential movements a t the lower part of a rockslope are more serious
than similar displacements a t the top of the slope.

Foundations and Abutments of Dams

The stability of dam abutments is similar to the stability of natural
rock slopes. The chief difference is the probable occurrence of higher
porewater pressures within the rock abutments of dams as described pre-
viously. There are two areas of concern. The first is in the natural rock
slope immediately downstream from the dam but not including the dam
itself. This is a natural slope; possibly it was near failure before con-
struction and it may have been oversteepened by construction. This slope
may have unprecedented water pressures acting upon it following con-
struction. If this slope should fail, it may cause unfavorable displace-
ments in the rock adjacent to the dam abutments which could lead to a
failure of the dam itself. The second case to consider is the much larger
volume of rock acted upon by the thrust of the dam and the reservoir
water, and containing the first slope. Fig. 35 illustrates these two cases.
The stability of dam foundations and abutments differs from natural
slopes'in another important aspect. This is that there is a very irregular
distribution of the normal stresses across the potential failure surface:
very high normal stresses, a,,, beneath the dam and along the dam
abutments and much lower stresses, a,,, downstream from the dam [see
Fig. 36 (a) 1.
It is quite likely that two different modes of failure would occur along
such a failure plane. Under the low normal stresses the irregularities will
be overridden; under high normal stresses they will be sheared off. Hence,
the greater part of the shearing resistance must be expected to come from
the rock beneath the highly loaded area.
Again, the importance of locating areas of previous geological displace-
ments along the potential failure planes cannot be overemphasized. If
large displacements have occurred, only the residual shearing resistance

. V o l l e y Wol l


Fig.'%-Plan view' of arch dam show- .Fig. 36-(a) Cross section of d a m foun-
ing two critical cases for the stability of dation showing irregular distribution o f
the abutments. normal stresses o n potential failure plane
and ( b ) corresponding shear strength
diagram. .'
could be cxpected along a11 portions of the failure envelope. A single
uncementcd mylonitic zone a fraction of an in. thick could change the
anticipated shearing resistance from t h e maximum t o the residual value
shown in Fig. 36 (b) .

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