Rock Mechanics pp 213-220 | Cite as

Mechanisms of Slope Failure Other Than Pure Sliding

  • H. K. Kuttėr
Part of the International Centre for Mechanical Sciences book series (CISM, volume 165)


Surface rock engineering relies greatly on the theories and techniques developed for soils. Frequently the principles of soil mechanics and the experience gained with soil structures are directly applied to rock slopes and to foundations on rock. This approach is sensible since many aspects and phenomena are the same for soils as for rocks, only that the various parameters are different in magnitude and importance. It is particularly valid when the rock mass is heavily fractured and the joints randomly oriented. However, as soon as directional structural features such as fault and bedding planes or columnar jointing are present in the rock mass the mechanism of failure will be very different from that of a granular medium. A good example is the failure surface of an unstable slope: in soils it is generally a circular arc determined by the minimum energy principle, whereas in rocks it is a preexisting plane or surface of weakness.


Rock Mass Slope Failure Rock Slope Tension Crack Slope Face 
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    ]Walton, G., Geologist with National Coal Board Opencast Executive and member of Rock Mechanics Group, Imperial College London, Personal communication, 1972.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. K. Kuttėr
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für GeologieRuhr-Universität BochumGermany

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