Environmental Earth Sciences

, 75:1478 | Cite as

Analysis of spalling failure in marble rock slope: a case study of Neyriz marble mine, Iran

  • H. M. Doghozlou
  • M. GoodarziEmail author
  • H. Rafiei Renani
  • E. F. Salmi
Original Article


The expansion of the Neyriz marble mine into deeper levels caused an unexpected failure particularly in the toes of lower benches. This phenomenon can impact the overall stability of the quarry and results in undesirable environmental and technical consequences. To understand the failure mechanism, a comprehensive study including—laboratory testing, in situ field testing and theoretical analyses are carried out. The theory of the brittle failure which was mainly developed based on the experiences gained during excavation in granite rocks is adopted and augmented in this study to explain the governing mechanism of failure. Mechanical properties of the marble are determined using conventional rock mechanics tests, and the in situ stress field was evaluated using a modified under coring test. Analyzing the laboratory and field data with the available empirical criteria for brittle failure shows that the level of stress in the lower bench is high enough to initiate the brittle failure. Finally, constitutive models developed for this failure mode are adopted in conjunction with numerical modeling to investigate the observed failure in the quarry. Two modeling strategies, based on elastic and elastic–plastic analyses, are considered. Comparing the predicted failure surface with the observed failure profile, it can be concluded that the brittle failure criteria can very well capture the failure mechanism in this marble quarry. This shows that the criteria proposed to describe spalling failure around underground excavation in granite can be effectively employed for assessing the brittle failure in deep open cast and quarry mines in good quality rocks such as marble.


Brittle rock Spalling failure Marble Numerical modeling Under coring test Quarry mine 



The financial and technical supports of the Neyriz Marble Mine Company during this research are gratefully acknowledged. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Mahdi Moosavi for his valuable discussion and guidance during the laboratory and field experiments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mining EngineeringUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  2. 2.School of Civil Engineering and GeosciencesNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.Amirkabir University of TechnologyTehranIran

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