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The failure mechanisms of hard rock slopes are usually dominated by the joint and fault system of the rock
mass, the properties of which show an inherent spread. The stability assessment according to block theory
on the contrary follows a deterministic procedure. The determination of representative values for the
analysis is therefore crucial. This paper addresses the steps for a slope stability assessment based on block
theory. The focus is set on the kinematical analysis. The parameters involved in these analytical steps are
discussed and their determination and statistical behaviour described. The kinematical analysis is illustrated
using a simple polyhedral block. It is shown that non-daylighting joints may also increase the kinematical
movability of a block. A case study outlines the determination of relevant rock mass parameters through field
mapping and 3D imaging, the probabilistic data processing using simplified kinematical analyses, and the
application in rock slope engineering. The result of the study is an optimised slope orientation easing further
excavation without any need of additional measures.
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Rock Slope Design
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