Characterization of an unstable rock mass based on borehole logs and diverse borehole radar data

Thomas Spillmann, Hansruedi Maurer, Heike Willenberg, Keith F. Evans, Björn Heincke, Alan G. Green

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review

35 Citationer (Scopus)


Unstable rocky slopes are major hazards to the growing number of people that live and travel though mountainous regions. To construct effective barriers to falling rock, it is necessary to know the positions, dimensions and shapes of structures along which failure may occur. To investigate an unstable mountain slope distinguished by numerous open fracture zones, we have taken advantage of three moderately deep (51.0-120.8 m) boreholes to acquire geophysical logs and record single-hole radar, vertical radar profiling (VRP) and crosshole radar data. We observed spallation zones, displacements and borehole radar velocity and amplitude anomalies at 16 of the 46 discontinuities identified in the borehole optical televiewer images. The results of the VRP and crosshole experiments were disappointing at our study site; the source of only one VRP reflection was determined and the crosshole velocity and amplitude tomograms were remarkably featureless. In contrast, much useful structural information was provided by the single-hole radar experiments. Radar reflections were recorded from many surface and borehole fracture zones, demonstrating that the strong electrical property contrasts of these features extended some distance into the adjacent rock mass. The single-hole radar data suggested possible connections between 6 surface and 4 borehole fractures and led to the discovery of 5 additional near-surface fracture zones. Of particular importance, they supplied key details on the subsurface geometries and minimum subsurface lengths of 8 of the 10 previously known surface fracture zones and all of the newly discovered ones. The vast majority of surface fracture zones extended at least 40-60 m into the subsurface, demonstrating that their depth and surface dimensions are comparable.

Sider (fra-til)16-38
Antal sider23
TidsskriftJournal of Applied Geophysics
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2007
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • Programområde 5: Natur og klima


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