, 5:305 | Cite as

A simplified approach for rockfall ground penetration and impact stress calculations

  • Baolin WangEmail author
  • Drummond S. Cavers
Original Article


This paper presents a simple procedure for calculating rockfall penetration and ground impact stress for design of pipeline burial depth. Rockfall may damage pipelines by penetrating through cover soils and damaging the pipeline by puncture or excessive impact stress. Design engineers may face a challenging question regarding what burial depth is required for adequate pipe protection. Greater burial depth may provide better protection; however, there are usually site and economic constraints. This paper discusses a simple procedure for calculating the maximum rock penetration and ground impact stress due to rockfall. The procedure may be used to estimate the minimum burial depth required to protect pipelines from rockfall damage. A case study involving a large boulder that fell down a slope and landed on a buried high-pressure gas pipeline is presented to demonstrate and verify the procedure. A calculation was performed before the removal of the boulder to evaluate whether any damage was made to the pipeline. The calculated results agreed well with the actual conditions observed after the boulder was removed.


Rockfall Penetration Burial Pipeline Impact stress 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.AMEC Earth & Environmental Ltd.BurnabyCanada

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