Rockfall Hazard Evaluation Using Probabilistic Keyblock Analysis

Esterhuizen, G. S.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1998
Gravity-driven rock falls account for a large proportion of all fatalities and injuries in underground mines. Potentially unstable blocks of rock are found in the hanging wall of excavations, which may be delineated by natural joints or stress fractures. These blocks, referred to as keyblocks, will fail if their weight exceeds the support capacity or if they are located between support units. This paper describes a computer program which simulates blocks in the hanging wall of an excavation based on measured properties of fractures and joints. Keyblocks are identified and placed at random locations in a predefined excavation. The keyblocks are tested against the support to determine whether they fail the support, drop out between the support or are stable. By repeating the procedure several thousand times, statistics of the probability of failure of the keyblocks are obtained. This approach allows the relative hazard associated with different types of support or excavation orientations to be obtained. It is concluded that a probabilistic approach is suitable for the evaluation of supports effectiveness in situations where large numbers of discontinuities or stress fractures are exposed in excavations.
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