A precursor of bedding rockslide: rock spalling in the key block triggered by tensile cracks

Abstract

A rock mass sliding along one controlling bedding plane is a shear failure that occurs under compressive stress. The failure mechanism is relevant to the propagation and coalescence of cracks in the rock bridge. A direct shear test was used to examined samples containing one preexisting crack to investigate the initiation, propagation, and coalescence of cracks. These cracking behaviors were analyzed by a charge-coupled device camera, the acoustic emission (AE), and a resistance strain gauge. Linear elastic fracture mechanics were applied to analyze the crack initiation in theory. In the study, the deformation and AE count rate were increased before failure. Simultaneously, shear spalling occurs in this process. This phenomenon shows that shear spalling is a precursor to failure. The spalling triggered by tensile cracks is similar to the in situ rock mass failure that explained the failure mechanism of the key block in the Jiweishan rockslide. The mechanical behavior shows that rockfalls induced by tensile cracks are a precursor to failure. Additionally, the degree of spalling is affected by the continuity factor of the preexisting crack. The failure modes are affected by normal stress and the preexisting crack length. This research provides theoretical support for predicting the stability of a bedding rock mass containing one key block.

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Funding

This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFC1501301), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41572283 and 41972284), the Funding of Science and Technology Office of Sichuan Province (Grant No. 2017TD0018) and the State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironment Protection Independent Research Project (SKLGP2018Z011).

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Correspondence to Guoqing Chen.

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Qin, C., Chen, G., Zhu, J. et al. A precursor of bedding rockslide: rock spalling in the key block triggered by tensile cracks. Bull Eng Geol Environ 79, 2513–2528 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10064-019-01703-y

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Keywords

  • Bedding plane
  • Compressive stress
  • Rock bridge
  • Direct shear test
  • Shear spalling
  • Precursor