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Designing for extreme events in open pit slope stability
Itasca International Inc., Minneapolis, MN, USA
J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.116 n.5 Johannesburg May. 2016
Two types of extreme event, earthquakes and rainfall, potentially affect open pit slope stability. In the case of earthquakes, there are rather well-developed analysis procedures and acceptability criteria. The analysis procedures relate mainly to selection of the dynamic loading either through design earthquakes and/or pseudo-static seismic coefficients. The acceptance criteria are typically expressed in terms of a minimum safety factor in pseudo-static analyses. The acceptance criteria are often promulgated by governments despite the fact that no open pit slope has ever been adversely affected by an earthquake. This paper explains why open pit slopes are seemingly more resistant to dynamic loads than natural landforms, which can experience catastrophic landslides.
Extreme rainfall events are much more likely to cause open pit slope problems than earthquakes. Two types of problem are common - slope erosion and slope instability. Slope erosion is often mitigated by appropriate surface water controls. Slope instability due to elevated transient water pressures is more difficult to mitigate. Analysis procedures and acceptability criteria are rare. This paper will discuss the mechanisms for rainfall-induced slope instability, as well as analysis methods. Examples will be discussed and analysis methods are proposed.
slope stability, analysis methods, acceptability criteria, extreme rainfall
©The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2016. ISSN 2225-6253. This paper was first presented at the, International Symposium on Slope Stability in Open Pit Mining and Civil Engineering 2015, 12–14 October 2015, Cape Town Convention Centre, Cape Town.