Benson, R. P. ; MacDonald, D. H. ; McCreath, D. R.
Society / Organization
Summary / Abstract
1 - INTRODUCTION
The Canadian Shield is well known as being among the older exposed areas of the earth's surface. Except for local zones, its extent from the Arctic to central North America is characterized by strong and durable crystalline rocks. It is generally regarded as highly competent for tunnelling and underground excavation and, as a result, many openings are excavated in it with minimal temporary support. If hydraulic efficiency is not a factor, tunnels do not usually require continuous concrete linings.
A high percentage of the crystalline rocks of the Shield are of metamorphic origin and as such one of the dominant characteristics is their foliation. Zones of sheared or faulted rock are common in the Canadian Shield, particularly in association with foliation. These zones may be created during the late stages of the metamorphic process, leaving shear zones as an integral feature of foliated rock. As foliation is a preferred direction of weakness, deformation and rupture during subsequent tectonism may also create parallel shear zones.
These "foliation shear zones", as described by Deere (1973), are an adverse feature of the otherwise durable rocks of the Canadian Shield. The zones may range from faults of major proportions to seams only a fraction of an inch thick. If fault gouge or alteration products exist in the zone the strength of the rock mass may be great1y reduced. As foliation is usually continuous, large unstable wedges of rock may be created if the opening is subparallel to the foliation. The effect on the construction of underground openings in terms of excavations, support and scheduling can be significant.
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Rapid Excavation And Tunneling Conference Proceedings - 1974