Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1207–1219 | Cite as

Cut Slope Design Recommendations for Sub-Horizontal Hard Sedimentary Rock Units in Ohio, USA

  • Yonathan Admassu
  • Abdul Shakoor
Original paper


Although most cut slopes in Ohio consist of inter-layered, sub-horizontal units of hard and soft sedimentary rocks (sandstone, limestone, dolostone, shale, claystone, mudstone), slopes consisting of relatively thick hard rock units are not uncommon. Design of stable cut slopes in hard rock units needs to consider rock mass strength and orientation of discontinuities with respect to slope face. Results of kinematic stability analyses show that hard-rock cut slopes are less likely to have conventional plane and wedge failures, caused by unfavorable orientation of discontinuities. The main cause of failure is identified to be the undercutting-induced toppling, which is not amenable to traditional kinematic or rock mass strength-based analyses. Therefore, to recommend a suitable slope angle, numerical models, using UDEC software, were employed to study how various slope angles affect the process of undercutting-induced toppling failures. The UDEC models showed a slope angle of 45° (1H:1 V) to be the most stable angle. However, a 63° (0.5H:1 V) slope angle can significantly reduce the potential for such failures and is therefore more appropriate than the widely used angle of 76° (0.25H:1 V).


Cut slope design Kinematic analysis UDEC Toppling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kent State University AshtabulaAshtabulaUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeologyKent State UniversityKentUSA

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