Dynamic stability analysis of jointed rock slopes using the DDA method: King Herod's Palace, Masada, Israel

Yossef H. Hatzor, A. A. Arzi, Y. Zaslavsky, A. Shapira

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219 Scopus citations


A dynamic, two-dimensional, stability analysis of a highly discontinuous rock slope is demonstrated in this paper. The studied rock slope is the upper terrace of King Herod's Palace in Masada, situated on the western margins of the seismically active Dead Sea Rift. The slope consists of sub-horizontally bedded and sub-vertically jointed, stiff, dolomite blocks. The dynamic deformation of the slope is calculated using a fully dynamic version of DDA in which time-dependent acceleration is used as input. The analytically determined failure modes of critical keyblocks in the jointed rock slope are clearly predicted by DDA at the end of the dynamic calculation. It is found however that for realistic displacement estimates some amount of energy dissipation must be introduced into the otherwise fully elastic, un-damped, DDA formulation. Comparison of predicted damage with actual slope performance over a historic time span of 2000 years allows us to conclude that introduction of 2% kinetic damping should suffice for realistic damage predictions. This conclusion is in agreement with recent results of Tsesarsky et al. (In: Y.H. Hatzor (Ed.), Stability of Rock Structures: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference of Analysis of Discontinuous Deformation, Balkema Publishers, Lisse, 2002, pp. 195-203) who compared displacements of a single block on an inclined plane subjected to dynamic loading obtained by DDA and by shaking table experiments. Using dynamic DDA it is shown that introduction of a simple rock bolting pattern completely stabilizes the slope.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-832
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • DDA
  • Damping
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Rock slope stability
  • Site response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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