Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of mining, Ahar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahar, Iran

2 Urmia University of Technology

3 University of Nevada, Reno



Slope instability can occur due to external loads such as earthquakes, explosions, and pore pressures. In addition, under natural conditions, slope instability can be caused by factors such as the erosion of some parts of the slope due to water or wind currents and the gradual rise of groundwater levels. Another factor leading to slope instability is human activities involving various types of loading and unloading on the slope. The instability of slopes may be associated with limited or large displacements, which either can cause problems or damage structures on the slope. Therefore, this phenomenon needs due care at all slope design and implementation stages. In general, slope stability is influenced by natural factors such as rock type (lithology), tectonic conditions of the area, rock mass joint conditions, and climatic conditions of the area. Furthermore, it is a function of design factors such as dip, height, explosive pattern, and explosion method. The present study offers a multi-factorial fuzzy classification system using the multi-criteria fuzzy approach to evaluate the slope stability. The evaluation is performed in five classes, namely “high stability”, “stable”, “relatively stable”, “unstable”, and “highly unstable”. Next, the viability of 28 slopes of 8 large open-pit mines in different parts of the world was evaluated. According to the fuzzy classification results, 4 and 6 slopes were evaluated in relatively stable and unstable conditions, respectively, with the other slopes classified as stable class. Afterward, the developed fuzzy classification system was assessed based on the actual behavior of the slopes. The results revealed a general large and local failure in most slopes in unstable and relatively stable conditions. Hence, a non-linear multi-factorial fuzzy classification system with good reliability can be used to evaluate the stability of the slopes.


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