Document Type : Original Research Paper


School of Mining Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran


In rock slopes, block toppling failure is a prevalent instability. In this instability, rock mass consists of a series of dominant parallel discontinuities that are dipping steeply into the slope face, and a series of cross-joints are located normal to the dominant discontinuities. Blocks may slide or rotate due to their weight along the natural cross-joints at their base, and the tensile strength does not significantly affect the stability of the rock slope. The rounding edge of rock columns is a special feature of spheroidal weathering. Firstly, a literature review of block toppling instability is presented. Next, applying the Sarma approach, a new theoretical analysis is proposed for the rock columns with rounded edges. One of the advantages of the proposed approach is that by determining the sign of a parameter called KC, the stability status can be specified. The suggested solution is compared with a pre-existing analytical method through examples and case study. Comparisons indicate that the proposed approach has a satisfactory agreement. It can be concluded that with weathering and rounding of the block edges, the safety factor decreases non-linearly. Therefore, this solution can be used to evaluate the blocky toppling failure regarding the erosion phenomenon.


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