A collision fragmentation model for predicting the distal reach of brittle fragmentable rock initiated from a cliff

  • Gang LuoEmail author
  • Hu Xiewen
  • Du Yingjin
  • Fu Jiankang
  • Mei Xuefeng
Original Paper


Collision-induced fragments from large volume isolated rock block collapsed from cliffs with heights of hundreds of meters could cause greater distal reaches via superimposing additional velocities on the frontal smaller fragments at the impact zone. These fragments may pose significant threats to distant infrastructure, life, and property due to their extremely high velocities and disastrously long runouts. To reveal the collision fragmentation mechanism on the evolution of higher velocities fragments and predict the distal reach of the frontal smaller ones, a two-dimensional block-terrain impact model of an intense brittle rock block colliding onto a rigid plane is proposed. Furthermore, the well-documented experiments on collision fragmentation of brittle chalk were used to verify the derived mathematical equations of the model. The results indicated that the calculated results can match experimental data well. The proposed model can provide meaningful insights into the kinetics of fragmental rockfalls and enable predictions of the possible distal reaches of explosive fragments, which are crucial for hazard zoning and mitigation design.


Fragmental rockfall Collision fragmentation mechanism Two-dimension block-terrain impact model Postimpact velocity calculation Distal reach prediction 



This work was supported by the Major State Basic Research Development Program of China (973 Program) (No. 2013CB733201), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41402266 and 41672283), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Project No. 2682015CX011). The authors also thank the editors and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments that improved the manuscript.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological Engineering, Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental EngineeringSouthwest Jiaotong UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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