Stability of shallow caverns in blocky rock masses

Y. H. Hatzor, I. Wainshtein, D. Bakun-Mazor

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The limiting relationship between underground opening span and required cover height for stability in blocky rock masses, characterized by a network of horizontal bedding planes and vertical joints, is explored here. Understanding this relationship is crucial for the design of mining excavations in karstic terrain as typically encountered in carbonate rock masses. We perform numerical analysis of multiple roof spans vs. cover height geometries using the DDA method to obtain the boundary curve between stable and unstable opening geometries. Our results indicate that for cavern spans of up to 18 meters a low cover height vs. opening span ratio of h/B = 0.33 is sufficient for stability. For spans greater than 18 meters the demand for cover height rapidly increases and it appears to stabilize at h/B = 1.0 for B = 26 meters and above.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 6 Dec 2011
Event45th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 26 Jun 201129 Jun 2011


Conference45th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics


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