Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 2099–2114 | Cite as

Control Effect of a Large Geological Discontinuity on the Seismic Response and Stability of Underground Rock Caverns: A Case Study of the Baihetan #1 Surge Chamber

  • Zhen Cui
  • Qian Sheng
  • Xianlun Leng
Original Paper


In this paper, the seismic stability of the #1 surge chamber of the Baihetan hydropower plant, which is influenced by a large dominating geological discontinuity [the interlayer shear weakness zone (ISWZ) C2)], is studied. An advanced, nonlinear, continuously yielding (CY) model was adopted to describe the complex mechanical properties of ISWZ C2. This model considers a power function type, normal stress dependent behavior and the progressive damage that occurred during shear tests. The applicability of the CY model is proved via a comparison with field test results and the theoretical solution. Verification work was conducted in 3DEC code to show that the 3DEC software is suitable for implementing this model. Three ground motion waveforms were utilized to conduct a seismic analysis of the #1 surge chamber after a special response spectrum matching process. The seismic analysis confirmed the control effect of ISWZ C2 on the seismic stability of the cavern. The majority of the cavern’s seismic displacement consists of elastic body movement, while the plastic deformation is relatively limited. Further, most of the deformations were caused by the contact deformation of C2. For the contact deformation of C2, the magnitude of permanent shear deformation is larger than that of the normal deformation. The magnitude of permanent shear deformation is more notable along the strike direction of C2, and the permanent normal displacement n of C2 mainly occurs along the dip direction of C2. Finally, the seismic stability of the cavern is assessed via the overload method. The seismic safety factor of the cavern is approximately 2–3.


Underground cavern Seismic stability Structural control effect Discrete element method Continuously yielding model 





Stress wave velocity


P wave velocity


S wave velocity

CY model

Continuously yielding model


Discontinuity closure in BB model


Maximum allowable closure in BB model


Joint normal stiffness exponent of CY model


Joint shear stiffness exponent of CY model


Wave frequency




Interlayer shear weakness zone


Normal stiffness


Shear stiffness


Peak ground acceleration


Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis


Joint roughness parameter of CY model


Reflection coefficient


Reflection coefficient by CY model


Reflection coefficient by linear model


Transmission coefficient by CY model


Transmission coefficient by linear model


Impedance of the rock mass medium

\(a_{\text{n}}\) and \(K_{\text{ni}}\)

Joint initial normal stiffness of CY model

\(a_{\text{s}}\) and \(K_{\text{si}}\)

Joint initial shear stiffness of CY model


Nonlinear factor in CY model, equals \(\sigma_{\text{n}}^{\text{en}}\)


Nonlinear factor in BB model


Friction angle


Density of the rock mass


Joint initial friction angle of CY model


Effective friction angle of CY model


Angular wave frequency

\(\varDelta \sigma_{\text{n}}\)

Incremental normal contact stress

\(\varDelta u_{\text{n}}\)

Incremental normal contact displacement

\(\varDelta \tau\)

Incremental shear contact stress

\(\varDelta u_{\text{s}}\)

Incremental shear contact displacement



The study was financially supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2015CB057905), the National Natural Science Foundation of China, (Nos. 51409263, 11472292).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Institute of Rock and Soil MechanicsChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.PowerChina Huadong Engineering Corporation LimitedHangzhouChina

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