Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment

, Volume 78, Issue 8, pp 6207–6219 | Cite as

Experimental and numerical study of the water inrush mechanisms of underground tunnels due to the proximity of a water-filled karst cavern

  • Dongdong Pan
  • Shucai Li
  • Zhenhao XuEmail author
  • Peng Lin
  • Xin Huang
Original Paper


The mechanism of lagging water inrush in underground tunnel constructions due to the proximity of a karst cavern with confined water is investigated via large-scale physical three-dimensional (3D) model testing and 3D numerical simulations. A new method is proposed for the preparation of modeled karst caverns filled with confined water. The physical 3D model testing is divided into two stages: tunnel excavation and hydraulic pressure loading. Multivariate information is obtained at the two stages using multiple measurement techniques. The results indicate that the displacement, hydraulic pressure, and the developmental trend of the damage zone in the tunnel excavation process are related. It is evident from the physical 3D model testing results that the process of water inrush can be divided into three stages, which include the initiation of group cracks, the formation of a water inrush channel, and the complete collapse of the water-resistant slab. The 3D model testing in conjunction with the 3D numerical simulations reveal that the disturbance due to excavation has an obvious impact on water inrush channel formation. However, an increasing hydraulic pressure in the karst cavern has a greater impact on the collapse of the water-resistant slab. These test results can provide support and guidance for tunnel construction under conditions that are susceptible to water inrush events.


Water inrush Karst cavern Three-dimensional model testing Numerical simulation Water-resistant slab 



We would like to acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no.: 51879153), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no.: 51509147), and the Fundamental Research Funds of Shandong University (grant no: 2017JC001).


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dongdong Pan
    • 1
  • Shucai Li
    • 1
  • Zhenhao Xu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peng Lin
    • 1
  • Xin Huang
    • 1
  1. 1.Shandong UniversityJinanChina

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