Geomechanics classifications are used to perform a preliminary assessment of rock slope stability for different purposes in civil and mining engineering. Among all existing rock mass classifications, slope mass rating (SMR) is one of the most commonly used for slopes. Although SMR is a geomechanics classification applied worldwide, often some misapprehensions and inaccuracies are made when professionally and scientifically used. Nearly all these miscalculations involve the influence of slope geometry and the dip and direction of the discontinuities. These problems can be overcome by a systematic assessment of SMR, which allows users to understand and visualize the relative orientation between discontinuities and slope. To fulfil this purpose, a complete and detailed definition of the angular relationships between discontinuities and slope are included in this paper, clarifying the assessment of the SMR parameters. Additionally, a Matlab-based open-source software for SMR (SMRTool) calculation is presented, avoiding miscalculations by automating the calculations and showing the graphical representation of slope and discontinuities. Finally, a general explanation of the method for the use of SMR is reviewed, stressing the common source of errors when applying this classification. The performance, benefits and usefulness of SMRTool are also illustrated in this paper through a specific case study.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Bar N, Barton N (2017) The Q-slope method for rock slope engineering. Rock Mech Rock Eng 50:3307–3322. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00603-017-1305-0
Barton N, Bar N (2015) Introducing the Q-slope method and its intended use within civil and mining engineering projects. In: Schubert W, Kluckner A (eds) Future development of rock mechanics. Proceedings of the ISRM regional symposium, Eurock 2015 and 64th geomechanics colloquium. Salzburg, p 157–162
Bieniawski ZT (1976) Rock mass classification in rock engineering. In: Bieniawski ZT (ed) Proceeding of the Symposium Exploration for Rock Engineering. Johannesburg, p 97–106
Bieniawski ZT (1989) Engineering rock mass classification: a complete manual for engineers and geologists in mining, civil, and petroleum engineering. Wiley, Chichester, p 251
Calcaterra D, Gili JA, Iovinelli R (1998) Shallow landslides in deeply weathered slates of the Sierra de Collcerola (Catalonian coastal range, Spain). Eng Geol 50:283–298. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0013-7952(98)00024-6
Hack R, Price D, Rengers NA (1998) A new approach to rock slope stability - a probability classification (SSPC). Bull Eng Geol Environ 62:167–184
Hoek E, Bray JW (1981) Rock slope engineering. The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, London
Hudson JA, Harrison JP (1997) Engineering rock mechanics: an introduction to the principles. Amsterdam
Lindsay P, Campbell RN, Fergusson DA et al (2001) Slope stability probability classification. Int J Coal Geol 45:127–145
Martín P, Campos C (1974) Mapa Geológico de España, hoja de Sagunto. Ministerio de Industria
Moon V, Russell G, Stewart M (2001) The value of rock mass classification systems for weak rock masses: a case example from Huntly, New Zealand. Eng Geol 61:53–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0013-7952(01)00024-2
Pantelidis L (2009) Rock slope stability assessment through rock mass classification systems. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 46:315–325. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.IJRMMS.2008.06.003
Robertson AM (1988) Estimating weak rock strength. In: Proceedings of the SME Annual meeting, Society of Mining Engineering. Phoenix, p 1–5
Romana M (1985) New adjustment ratings for application of Bieniawski classification to slopes. In: Mechanics IS of R (ed) Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Role of Rock Mechanics in Excavations for Mining and Civil Works. Zacatecas, p 49–53
Romana M (1993a) SMR classification. In: Proceedings of the 7th ISRM International Congress on Rock Mechanics. Rotterdam: A A Balkema, Aachen, p 955–960
Romana M (1993b) A Geomechanical classification for slopes: Slope Mass Rating. In: Hudson JA (ed) Comprehensive rock engineering. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp 1–44
Romana M, Tomas R, Seron JB (2015) Slope Mass Rating (SMR) Geomechanics Classification: Thirty Years Review. In: ISRM Congress 2015 Proceedings - International Symposium on Rock Mechanics. Quebec, Canada, p 10
Shuk T (1994) Key elements and applications of the natural slope methodology (NSM) with some emphasis on slope stability aspects. In: ISRM (ed) Proceedings of the 4th South American Congress on Rock Mechanics 2. Balkema, Rotterdam, p 955–960
Singh B, Göel RK (1999) Rock mass classification. A practical Approach in Civil Engineering. Amsterdam
Tomás R, Delgado J, Serón JB (2007) Modification of Slope Mass Rating (SMR) by continuous functions. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 44:1062–1069
Tomás R, Cuenca A, Cano M, García-Barba J (2012a) A graphical approach for Slope Mass Rating (SMR). Eng Geol 124:67–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENGGEO.2011.10.004
Tomás R, Valdes-Abellan J, Tenza-Abril AJ, Cano M (2012b) New insight into the slope mass rating geomechanical classification through four-dimensional visualization. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 53:64–69. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.IJRMMS.2012.04.002
Tomás R, Romana M, Serón JB (2016) Revisión del estado actual de la clasificación geomecánica Slope Mass Rating (SMR). In: 10o Simposio Nacional ingeniería Geotécnica. La Coruña, p 19–21
Zheng J, Zhao Y, Lü Q et al (2016) A discussion on the adjustment parameters of the Slope Mass Rating (SMR) system for rock slopes. Eng Geol 206:42–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENGGEO.2016.03.007
This work has been supported by the University of Alicante under the projects GRE14-04 and GRE17-11, the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO), the State Agency of Research (AEI) and the European Funds for Regional Development (FEDER) under projects TEC2017-85244-C2-1-P and TIN2014-55413-C2-2-P, and the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport under project PRX17/00439 and CAS17/00392.
About this article
Cite this article
Pastor, J.L., Riquelme, A.J., Tomás, R. et al. Clarification of the slope mass rating parameters assisted by SMRTool, an open-source software. Bull Eng Geol Environ 78, 6131–6142 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10064-019-01528-9
- Rock mechanics
- Slope mass rating
- Geomechanical classification