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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
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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