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Rock cut stability assessment in mountainous regions


Ensuring stability of rock slopes is an essential requirement in the progress of our societies today. Rock determined to be loose or with potential for failure must be removed or restrained in some way. In our work, after doing an inventory of the instabilities that occurred in the last 5 years in the Basque Country, we analyse the different factors, in slope stability. The potential for failure is evaluated for different classes of rock mass, characterized previously by their geomechanical properties. The characterization of potential risk of each one is undertaken by considering 10 parameters that define the nature of mass rock, relative orientation and morphological features of the slope (interaction rock massif-slope) and infrastructure features (interaction rock massif-slope-infrastructure). Each of these parameters is evaluated separately and a Risk Factor (RF) is determined. The RF reaches a maximum value of 10,000 and allows to differentiate four categories of slopes; each category has its own priority. Rock mass characteristics also determine the potential damage from instability and the associated correction measures. The systematic evaluation of instabilities must allow establishing a priority in the correction measures and thus optimise the available economic resources.

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This work was supported by The University of the Basque Country. Project 1/UPV 00001.310-E-13915/2001: Caracterización de la inestabilidad de taludes en macizos interestratificados del País Vasco: aspectos geomecánicos, interacción precipitación-inestabilidad y análisis de riesgos.

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Correspondence to Gorka Uribe-Etxebarria.

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Uribe-Etxebarria, G., Morales, T., Uriarte, J.A. et al. Rock cut stability assessment in mountainous regions. Environ Geol 48, 1002–1013 (2005).

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  • Rock cut stability
  • Linear infrastructures
  • Risk Factor
  • Mountainous regions