Authors: Sullivan, TD


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Sullivan, TD 2007, 'Hydromechanical Coupling and Pit Slope Movements', in Y Potvin (ed.), Proceedings of the 2007 International Symposium on Rock Slope Stability in Open Pit Mining and Civil Engineering, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 3-43,

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This paper presents a review of the general state of the art in the understanding of the interaction between water and pit slope deformations. The topics covered include; the theory of hydromechanical coupling, the interaction between stress and pore fluid responses for rock structure and rock masses and the impacts of these on open pit slopes. The hydrogeological cycle for an open pit is explained and the importance of transient and partial pore pressures are highlighted. The paper includes an explanation of pit slope deformations and failure movements. A new system for classifying pit slope movements is presented together with critical movement thresholds. The various methods for slope depressurisation are addressed and the accuracy and methodology for assessing pore pressure input to slope design at all slope scales are reviewed. Examples of hydromechanical coupling, pore pressure responses in structure and rock masses, statistics on the interaction between rainfall and pit slope failures and the role of undrained loading for the liquefaction potential for pit slopes are presented. It is concluded that the effective management of pit slopes is only possible by the integration of pit slope deformations and movements with the hydraulic properties and pore pressure responses of the rock mass.

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