Evaluation on the Minimum Principal Stress State and Potential Hydraulic Jacking from the Shotcrete-Lined Pressure Tunnel: A Case from Nepal

  • Chhatra Bahadur BasnetEmail author
  • Krishna Kanta Panthi
Original Paper


Reliable estimation of in situ stress state is very important in implementing unlined/shotcrete-lined pressure tunnels and shafts. The topography, local tectonic setting and geological environment greatly influence the magnitude of in situ stress level. This paper aims to evaluate in situ stress state at the Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project (UTHP), where unlined/shotcrete-lined headrace tunnel with considerable hydrostatic head is being implemented. Initially measured minimum principal stress indicated much lower values than the hydrostatic pressure at the downstream end of the headrace tunnel, which led to shift the alignment at the upper elevation with reduced hydrostatic pressure. In order to explore the reason behind much lower stress level as expected, a comprehensive assessment is carried out by developing a full rock stress model so that the minimum principal stress along the unlined pressure tunnel is evaluated. To address the complex geotectonic and topographic environment of the UTHP project area, a final rock stress model (FRSM) concept as suggested by Stephansson and Zang (2012) has been utilized. The FRSM concept considers stepwise evaluation of the in situ stress state analysis integrating the best estimate stress model (BESM), stress measurement methods (SMM) and integrated stress determination methods (ISD). The analysis carried out revealed that the in situ stress state at the project area has high degree of spatial variation even at the similar overburden due to the presence of complex topography and the presence of local shear and weakness zones. The analysis further demonstrates that a presence of local shear/weakness zone has considerable de-stressing effect, which leads to the reduction of in situ minimum principal stress magnitude. The reduction in the minimum principal stress along the pressure tunnel increases the risk for the potential hydraulic jacking and leakage if static water pressure is higher than the magnitude of minimum principal stress.


Himalayan geology and tectonics Topography Weakness zones Unlined/shotcrete-lined pressure tunnel In situ stress state 3D numerical modeling 



The authors are grateful to the project management team of Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project for providing project data and information and giving permission to carry out research on this project, which will be a milestone in the use of unlined pressure tunnel concept in the Himalayan region.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chhatra Bahadur Basnet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Krishna Kanta Panthi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geoscience and PetroleumNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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