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Title: Dynamic Fragmentation of Jointed Rock Blocks During Rockslide-Avalanches: Insights From Discrete Element Analyses
Authors: Zhao, T
Crosta, GB
Dattola, G
Utili, S
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Citation: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 2018, 123 (4), pp. 3250 - 3269
Abstract: The dynamic fragmentation of jointed rock blocks during rockslide avalanches has been investigated by discrete element method simulations for a multiple arrangement of a rock block sliding over a simple slope geometry. The rock blocks are released along an inclined sliding plane and subsequently collide onto a flat horizontal plane at a sharp kink point. The contact force chains generated by the impact appear initially at the bottom frontal corner of the rock block and then propagate radially upward to the top rear part of the block. The jointed rock blocks exhibit evident contact force concentration and discontinuity of force wave propagation near the joint, associating with high energy dissipation of granular dynamics. The corresponding force wave propagation velocity can be less than 200 m/s, which is much smaller than that of an intact rock (1,316 m/s). The concentration of contact forces at the bottom leads to high rock fragmentation intensity and momentum boosts, facilitating the spreading of many fine fragments to the distal ends. However, the upper rock block exhibits very low rock fragmentation intensity but high energy dissipation due to intensive friction and damping, resulting in the deposition of large fragments near the slope toe. The size and shape of large fragments are closely related to the orientation and distribution of the block joints. The cumulative fragment size distribution can be well fitted by the Weibull’s distribution function, with very gentle and steep curvatures at the fine and coarse size ranges, respectively. The numerical results of fragment size distribution can match well some experimental and field observations.
ISSN: 2169-9313
Appears in Collections:Civil Engineering

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