Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-127
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-127

  07 May 2021

07 May 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Multiscale effects caused by the fracturing and fragmentation of rock blocks in rock mass movement: Implications for rock avalanche propagation

Qiwen Lin1,2, Yufeng Wang1,2,3, Yu Xie1, Qiangong Cheng1,2,3, and Kaifeng Deng1 Qiwen Lin et al.
  • 1Department of Geological Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610031, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of High-Speed Railway Engineering, Ministry of Education, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610031, China
  • 3State-Province Joint Engineering Laboratory of Spatial Information Technology of High-Speed Rail Safety, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610031, China

Abstract. Fracturing and fragmentation of rock blocks are important and universal phenomena during the propagation of rock avalanches. Here, the movement of a rectangular rock block characterized by different joint sets along an upper inclined and lower horizontal traveling path is simulated, aiming to quantify the fracturing and fragmentation effect of the block in propagation. The preset of the joint sets allows the block to break along the weak joint planes at the very beginning of fragmentation. With this design, the fracturing and fragmentation processes in the sliding rock block and their influences on energy transformation in the system are investigated. The results show that fragmentation can alter the horizontal velocities and kinetic energies of fragments in the block system with the front subblocks being accelerated and the rear part being obviously decelerated. Such energy conversion and transfer between the front and rear subblocks is attributed to the elastic strain energy release and transformation caused by fragmentation. The energy transfer induced by fragmentation is more efficient than that induced by collision. A positive trend between the kinetic energy increase of the front subblocks induced by fragmentation and the rock strength can be fitted well with a linear function. However, no good relationship is reached between the strain energy incremental ratio and travel distance, which implies that the fragmentation effects may be weakened with the increasing complexity of the fragmenting rock mass system. Three elastic strain wave release effects caused by rock fragmentation are further inferred and discussed based on simulation results.

Qiwen Lin et al.

Status: open (until 08 Jul 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-127', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 May 2021 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Qiwen Lin, 22 May 2021 reply

Qiwen Lin et al.

Qiwen Lin et al.

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Short summary
Fracturing and fragmentation of rock blocks are important and universal phenomena during the movement of rock avalanches. The movement of a fragmenting rock block is simulated by discrete element method, aiming to quantify the fracturing and fragmentation effect of the block in propagation. The fracturing and fragmentation processes and their influences on energy transformation in the system are detailed described.
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