Prediction of rockburst in water conveyance tunnel: A case study of Gelas tunnel

Document Type : Research Paper


1 School of Earth Sciences, Damghan University, Damghan, Iran

2 Department of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Birjand, Birjand, Iran


At the presence of undesirable geological conditions, including rock masses with high overburden, crushed zones and faults, folds, dikes and other abnormalities, rockburst has become a critical safety problem in Gelas tunnel, a water conveyance tunnel, wherein some sections overlying strata exceed 600 m. The main goal of this study is to determine the possibility of rockburst and its level along the second part of the Gelas tunnel. In order to study the mechanisms of rockburst occurrence in Gelas tunnel, measurements of in situ stress, geological investigation, uniaxial compression tests, and analytical approaches are carried. So, in this study, some analytical approaches, including Linear elastic index, Tangential stresses criterion, Brittleness coefficient of rocks, and method of stresses are used to predict rockburst in 17 sections of the tunnel path. The average result shows that all the selected sections in the tunnel path have the potential of occurring rockburst at a range of low to moderate. About 65 percent of the sections are exposed to moderate risk of rockburst occurrence; and the remaining 35 percent are exposed to low risk of rockburst occurrence. The comparison between applied methods shows a lack of consensus conformity among them. The brittleness coefficient of rocks method turned out to be as the most conservative approaches for predicting rockburst occurrence since by this approach most of the sections in the tunnel path are susceptible to high risk of rockburst occurrence. According to the average result, fault and Dolomitic zones with high overburden have the highest risk of rockburst occurrence.


[1]    Manouchehrian A, Cai M. Analysis of rockburst in tunnels subjected to static and dynamic loads. J Rock Mech Geotech Eng 2017; 9:1031–40.
[2]    Li J, Fan P, Wang M. Failure behavior of highly stressed rocks under quasi-static and intensive unloading conditions. J Rock Mech Geotech Eng 2013; 5:287–93.
[3]    Zhou J, Li X, Mitri HS. Evaluation method of rockburst: state-of-the-art literature review. Tunn Undergr Sp Technol 2018; 81:632–59.
[4]    Cook NGW, Hoek E. Rock mechanics applied to the study of rock bursts. J South African Inst Min Metall 1996;66.
[5]    Li XB. Rock dynamics fundamentals and applications 2014.
[6]    Dietz M, Oremek GM, Groneberg DA, Bendels MHK. What is a rock burst? Zentralblatt Fur Arbeitsmedizin Arbeitsschutz Und Ergon 2018; 68:45–9.
[7]    Cai M. Prediction and prevention of rockburst in metal mines–A case study of Sanshandao gold mine. J Rock Mech Geotech Eng 2016; 8:204–11.
[8]    Sinha RS. Underground structures: design and instrumentation. Elsevier; 2012.
[9]    Naji AM, Rehman H, Emad MZ, Yoo H. Impact of shear zone on rockburst in the deep neelum-jehlum hydropower tunnel: A numerical modeling approach. Energies 2018; 11:1935.
[10]  Kouame KAJ, Jiang F, Zhu S, Feng Y. Overview of rock burst research in China and its application in Ivory Coast. Int J 2017; 12:204–11.
[11]   Jiang L, Wang P, Zhang P, Zheng P, Xu B. Numerical analysis of the effects induced by normal faults and dip angles on rock bursts. Comptes Rendus Mécanique 2017; 345:690–705.
[12]  Wang P, Jiang L, Jiang J, Zheng P, Li W. Strata behaviors and rock burst–inducing mechanism under the coupling effect of a hard, thick stratum and a normal fault. Int J Geomech 2018; 18:4017135.
[13]  Mohr F. Rock Pressure and Mine Support. Mine Quarr 1956.
[14]  Vieira F, Durrheim RJ. Probabilistic mine design methods to reduce rockburst risk. J South African Inst Min Metall 2002; 102:231–42.
[15]  Naji AM, Rehman H, Emad MZ, Ahmed S, Kim J-J, Yoo H. Rockburst evaluation in complex geological environment in deep hydropower tunnels. Tunnels Undergr. Cities Eng. Innov. meet Archaeol. Archit. Art, CRC Press; 2019, p. 1002–9.
[16]  Zhai S, Su G, Yin S, Zhao B, Yan L. Rockburst characteristics of several hard brittle rocks: A true triaxial experimental study. J Rock Mech Geotech Eng 2020; 12:279–96.
[17]  Keneti A, Sainsbury B-A. Review of published rockburst events and their contributing factors. Eng Geol 2018; 246:361–73.
[18]  Gong F, Wang Y, Luo S. Rockburst proneness criteria for rock materials: review and new insights. J Cent South Univ 2020; 27:2793–821.
[19]  Wang J, Apel DB, Pu Y, Hall R, Wei C, Sepehri M. Numerical modeling for rock bursts: A state-of-the-art review. J Rock Mech Geotech Eng 2020.
[20] Farhadian H. A new empirical chart for rockburst analysis in tunnelling: Tunnel rockburst classification (TRC). Int J Min Sci Technol 2021.
[21]  Wen J, Li H, Jiang F, Yu Z, Ma H, Yang X. Rock burst risk evaluation based on equivalent surrounding rock strength. Int J Min Sci Technol 2019; 29:571–6.
[22] Kwasniewski M, Szutkowski I, Wang JA. Study of ability of coal from seam 510 for storing elastic energy in the aspect of assessment of hazard in Porabka-Klimontow Colliery. Sci Rept Silesian Tech Univ 1994.
[23]  Khanlari G, Ghaderi-Meybodi R. Analysis of rock burst in critical section of second part of Karaj-Tehran Water Supply Tunnel. Geotech Saf Risk ISGSR 2011 2011: 661–8.
[24] Wang YH, Li WD, Li QG. Fuzzy estimation method of rockburst prediction. Chinese J Rock Mech Eng 1998; 17:493–501.
[25]  Qiao CS, Tian ZY. Study of the possibility of rockburst in Donggua-shan Copper Mine. Chinese J Rock Mech Eng Ĺ˝exp 1998; 17:917–21.
[26]  Guang Z, Jingxi C, Bin H. Prediction and control of  rockburst  during deep excavation of a gold mine in China [J]. Chinese J Rock Mech Eng 2003; 10.
[27]  Aghanabati A. Geology of Iran. Geological survey of Iran; 2004.
[28] ISCE Institute. Geological and Engineering Geological Report for Gelas Water Conveyance Tunnel Project. 2012. Report number: GL-CC-BS-EG-TR-007-00.