International Journal of Civil Engineering

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 371–381 | Cite as

Fracture Characterization and Rock Mass Damage Induced by Different Excavation Methods in the Horonobe URL of Japan

  • T. Tokiwa
  • K. Tsusaka
  • K. Aoyagi
Research Paper


We conducted detailed fracture mapping of the soft sedimentary rocks (uniaxial compressive strength of 10–20 MPa) in shaft walls at the Horonobe Underground Research Laboratory to characterize fractures and to understand the influence of different excavation methods on rock mass damage. The mapping indicates that the fractures are numerous and can be divided into shear fractures and extension fractures. On the basis of orientation and frequency, the shear fractures are inferred to be pre-existing fractures, and the extension fractures are considered to be newly formed fractures (EDZ fractures) induced by the shaft excavation. The frequencies of pre-existing and newly formed fractures have a negative correlation, and we infer that stress relief leads to the formation of excavation damaged zone by the generation of the newly formed fractures in the parts of shaft that have intact rock, and by the reactivation of pre-existing fractures where such fractures are numerous. Although more newly formed fractures are formed by blasting excavation than by mechanical excavation, there is little difference in the comparative excavation rates. These results indicate that rock mass damage is caused by the mode of excavation rather than excavation rate. Therefore, the mechanical excavation is preferred to blasting excavation from the viewpoint of minimizing rock mass damage.


Fracture Excavation EDZ Soft rock Shaft 



This work was funded by a collaborative research project between Shinshu University and Japan Atomic Energy Agency under project No. 27k026. The authors would like to thank Mr. Hagihara of Taisei-Obayashi-Mitsuisumitomo joint venture group, Mr. Matsubara of Geoscience Research Laboratory, Co., Ltd. and Mr. Ishikawa of Mitsubishi Materials Techno Corporation for their technical contribution to the acquisition of the data. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Glen McCrank for editing the English and providing helpful suggestions. This paper benefited from critical and helpful reviews by two anonymous reviewers and Dr. Mohammad Hassan Baziar (Editor of International Journal of Civil Engineering).


  1. 1.
    Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute (2000) H12: project to establish the scientific and technical basis for HLW disposal in Japan, Project Overview Report, JNC-TN1410-2000-001Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    SKB (2006) Long-term safety for KBS-3 repositories at Forsmark and Laxemar—a first evaluation, Main Report of the SR-Can project, SKB-TR-06-09Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Maejima T, Uno H, Mito Y, Chang CS, Aoki K (2007) Three-dimensional hydrogeological modeling around the large rock cavern for the LPG storage project. In: Proceedings of the 11th Congress of the International Society for Rock Mechanics, LisbonGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Shahnazari H, Esmaeili M, Ranjbar HH (2010) Simulating the effects of projectile explosion on a jointed rock mass using 2D DEM: a case study of Ardebil-Mianeh railway tunnel. Int J Civil Eng 8(2):125–133Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ardeshir A, Amiri M, Ghasemi Y, Errington M (2014) Risk assessment of construction projects for water conveyance tunnels using fuzzy fault tree analysis. Int J Civil Eng 12(4):396–412Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lu X, Zhou Y, Huang M, Li F (2016) Computation of the minimum limit support pressure for the shield tunnel face stability under seepage condition. Int J Civil Eng. doi: 10.1007/s40999-016-0116-0 Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tsang CF, Bernier F, Davies C (2005) Geohydromechanical processes in the excavation damaged zone in crystalline rock, rock salt, and indurated and plastic clays—in the context of radioactive waste disposal. Int J Rock Mech Mining Sci 42(1):109–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bossart P, Trick T, Meier PM, Mayor JC (2004) Structural and hydrogeological characterisation of the excavation-disturbed zone in the Opalinus Clay (Mont Terri Project, Switzerland). Appl Clay Sci 26(1–4):429–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mertens J, Bastiaens W, Dehandschutter B (2004) Characterisation of induced discontinuities in the Boom Clay around the underground excavations (URF, Mol, Belgium). Appl Clay Sci 26(1–4):413–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Armand G, Wileveau Y, Morel J, Cruchaudet M, Rebours H (2007) Excavated damaged zone (EDZ) in the Meuse Haute-Marne underground research laboratory. In: Proceedings of the 11th Congress of the ISRM, LisbonGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Matray JM, Savoye S, Cabrera J (2007) Desaturation and structure relationships around drifts excavated in the well-compacted Tournemire’s argillite (Aveyron, France). Eng Geol 90(1–2):1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Levasseur S, Charlier R, Frieg B, Collin F (2010) Hydro-mechanical modelling of the excavation damaged zone around an underground excavation at Mont Terri Rock Laboratory. Int J Rock Mech Mining Sci 47(3):414–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tsang CF, Barnichon JD, Birkholzer J, Li XL, Liu HH, Sillen X (2012) Coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical processes in the near field of a high-level radioactive waste repository in clay formations. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 49:31–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bossart P, Meier PM, Moeri A, Trick T, Mayor JC (2002) Geological and hydraulic characterisation of the excavation disturbed zone in the Opalinus Clay of the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory. Eng Geol 66(1–2):19–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gibert D, Nicollin F, Kergosien B, Bossart P, Nussbaum C, Grislin-Mouëzy A, Conil F, Hoteit N (2006) Electrical tomography monitoring of the excavation damaged zone of the Gallery 04 in the Mont Terri rock laboratory: field experiments, modelling, and relationship with structural geology. Appl Clay Sci 33(1):21–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tokiwa T, Tsusaka K, Matsubara M, Ishikawa T, Ogawa D (2013) Formation mechanism of extension fractures induced by excavation of a gallery in soft sedimentary rock, Horonobe area, Northern Japan. Geosci Front 4(1):105–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tokiwa T, Tsusaka K, Matsubara M, Ishikawa T (2014) Fracture characterization around a gallery in soft sedimentary rock in Horonobe URL of Japan. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 65:1–7Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Yamamoto H (1979) The geologic structure and the sedimentary basin off northern part of the Hokkaido Island. J Jpn Assoc Petrol Technol 44(5):260–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wei D, Seno T (1998) Determination of the Amurian plate motion, Mantle Dynamics and Plate Interactions in East Asia. AGU, Washington, DC, pp 337–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ikeda Y (2002) The origin and mechanism of active folding in Japan. Active Fault Res 22:67–70Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ishii E, Yasue K, Ohira H, Furusawa A, Hasegawa T, Nakagawa M (2008) Inception of anticline growth near the Omagari Fault, northern Hokkaido, Japan. J Geol Soc Jpn 114(6):286–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ota K, Abe H, Kunimaru T (2010) Horonobe underground research laboratory project synthesis of phase I investigations 2001–2005 volume “Geoscientific Research”, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, JAEA-Research 2010-068Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Funaki H, Ishii E, Tokiwa T (2009) Evaluation of the role of fractures as the major water-conducting features in neogene sedimentary rocks. J Jpn Soc Eng Geol 50(4):238–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Tokiwa T, Ishii E, Funaki H, Tsusaka K, Sanada H (2009) Relationship between fault system estimated by the fault-striation analysis of drilling cores and rock mass behavior induced by shaft excavation in the Horonobe area, northern Japan. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop and Conference on Earth Resources Technology, Sapporo, JapanGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Iran University of Science and Technology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ScienceShinshu UniversityMatsumotoJapan
  2. 2.Horonobe Underground Research UnitJapan Atomic Energy AgencyHokkaidoJapan

Personalised recommendations