Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 497–511 | Cite as

Rock slope stability analysis using photogrammetric data and DFN–DEM modelling

  • V. Bonilla-Sierra
  • L. Scholtès
  • F. V. DonzéEmail author
  • M. K. Elmouttie
Research Paper


Structural and mechanical analyses of rock mass are key components for rock slope stability assessment. The complementary use of photogrammetric techniques and numerical models coupling discrete fracture networks with the discrete element method (DEM) provides a methodology that can be applied to assess the mechanical behaviour of realistic three-dimensional (3D) configurations for which fracture persistence cannot be assumed. A real case has been studied to show the complete methodology from the acquisition of the photogrammetric data to the numerical modelling of the potential progressive failure process occurring in the rock mass. Using a 3D mapping system and its associated structural mapping tool Sirovision, the topography and the discontinuity set of an unstable rock block located in a limestone layer of the Mount Néron, located in the French Alps, were imported into a DEM code specially enhanced for the modelling of pre-fractured rock masses. A stability analysis has been carried out, emphasizing the contribution of rock bridge failure through a mixed shear-tensile failure process to the generation of new failure surfaces. This addresses limitations in methodologies using only shear strength reduction method. It is believed that the proposed methodology can strengthen the basis for a more comprehensive stability analysis of complex fractured rock slopes.


DFN–DEM numerical modelling Photogrammetry Progressive failure Rock slope stability 



This work has been partly supported by the IMSRN company through a CIFRE grant N°2012/0710, the Research network “Vulnerability of structures undergoing a natural or technological hazard” (Grenoble, France) and the Sirovision project (CSIRO, QCAT, Pullenvale, Australia).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Bonilla-Sierra
    • 1
    • 2
  • L. Scholtès
    • 3
  • F. V. Donzé
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. K. Elmouttie
    • 4
  1. 1.Univ. Grenoble Alpes/CNRS, UMR 5521 3SRGrenobleFrance
  2. 2.IMSRN-Ingénierie des Mouvements de Sol et des Risques Naturels, Parc Pré Millet – 680 Rue Aristide BergèsMontbonnotFrance
  3. 3.Université de Lorraine/CNRS/CREGU, UMR 7359 GeoRessourcesVandœuvre-lès-NancyFrance
  4. 4.CSIRO Energy FlagshipPullenvaleAustralia

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