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TitleFragmentation energy in rock avalanches
AuthorLocat, P; Couture, R; Leroueil, S; Locat, J; Jaboyedoff, M
SourceCanadian Geotechnical Journal vol. 43, no. 8, 2006 p. 830-851,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20060135
PublisherCanadian Science Publishing
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf (Adobe Acrobat Reader)
NTS82G; 82H; 82I; 82J; 82N; 82O; 83C; 83D; 83E; 83F
Areasouthern British Columbia; southwestern Alberta; Canadian Rocky Mountains; Front Range; Turtle Mountain; Slide Mountain; Queen Elizabeth Ranges; Jonas Creek; European Alps; Drôme River; Maurienne Valley; Massif de Taillefer; Isère; Villeneuve; Vaud Canton; Rhône River; Canada; France; Switzerland
Lat/Long WENS-120.0000 -112.0000 54.0000 49.0000
Lat/Long WENS 4.0000 8.0000 47.0000 44.0000
Subjectsengineering geology; structural geology; landslides; slope stability; slope failures; rock mechanics; mass wasting; energy; debris flow deposits; mining methods; point load analyses; Frank Slide; Slide Mountain rockslide avalanche; Queen Elizabeth rockslide avalanche; Jonas Creek north rockslide avalanche; Jonas Creek south rockslide avalanche; Claps du Luc rockslide avalanche; La Madeleine rockslide avalanche; Charmonétier rockslide avalanche; Arvel rockslide avalanche
Illustrationsgraphs; diagrams; plots; tables; sketch maps; cross-sections; stereonets
ProgramFCAR - Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide à la Recherche
ProgramNSERC Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
ProgramReducing Risk from Natural Hazards
Released2006 08 01
AbstractFragmentation is one of the mechanisms involved in rock avalanches. Quantifying the associated energy during a rock avalanche can help to assess the influence of fragmentation on post-failure mass movements. In this paper, in situ block size distributions of the intact rock mass and the debris deposits are presented and analyzed for nine rock avalanches, five in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and four in the European Alps. Degrees of fragmentation are estimated from these data. Two methods are examined to assess fragmentation energy, one based on the comminution theory, and one on the blasting energy used in the mining industry. The results show that, for the studied rock avalanches, there is a relationship between the reduction in diameter ratio, R(r)=D(50)/d(50) (where D(50) and d(50) are the mean diameter of the intact rock mass and the mean diameter of the debris, respectively), and the potential energy per unit volume normalized with respect to the point load strength of rock (gammaH(G)/sigma(c)), where gamma is the unit weight of the material, H(G) is the vertical distance between the centres of gravity of the mass at the start and end positions, and sigma(c) is the point load strength). For the cases studied, fragmentation energy calculations average 20% of the potential energy. An empirical relationship between R(r) and gammaH(G)/sigma(c) has been established and is used in the definition of a disintegration index (I(D)). This index seems to reflect the physics of the disintegration process, since it accounts for the fact that the reduction in diameter ratio is a function of the dissipated energy and the strength of the rock. These factors have long been known to affect fragmentation but have never been presented in a coherent manner for rock avalanches.
Key words: rock avalanches, disintegration, fragmentation energy, Canadian Rocky Mountains, European Alps.

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