Rockslides and rockfalls are classified according to the sources of structural failure. Factors that may cause rockfall to occur include breaks in the rockmass, weathering and erosion of the rockmass, root wedging from trees growing in and around the rockmass, changes in ground and surface water, seismic activity and other external forces. A mass wasting event can start with just one or a few dislodged rocks. However, rock slopes can be stabilized to reduce the likelihood of geological slope failure. Geotechnical engineering practices can be implemented to achieve long-term rock slope stability. According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landslide Types and Processes Fact Sheet:
Stability increases when groundwater is prevented from rising in the landslide mass by (1) covering the landslide with an impermeable membrane, (2) directing surface water away from the landslide, (3) draining ground water away from the landslide, and (4) minimizing surface irrigation.
Some examples of rock slope stabilization method:
Wire Mesh Netting
Heavy gauge wire mesh is secured at the top (crest) and the bottom (foot) of the slope. Any falling debris stays contained behind the mesh, preventing damage to roads and other surfaces or structures below the slope.
On certain sites, retaining walls with proper drainage control can help to disperse groundwater behind the wall. This method limits the hydrostatic pressure from underground.
Rock Bolting is used in excavation to stabilize tunnels, but it can also be used as a rock slope stabilization method. Long anchor bolts are installed in a pattern; the most stable pattern for rock bolt placement can be calculated and modeled by engineers using modern geotechnical data processing software.
To plan a rock slope stabilization method, our engineers identify characteristics of the site such as climate cycles, erosion, changes in groundwater and earthquake probability.