2007 – Design inputs for stability assessment of dams on New Zealand greywackes

Stuart Read and Laurie Richards

Many dams in New Zealand are founded on greywacke, a typically hard, closely-jointed rock mass. This paper describes the characteristics of greywacke rocks based on field mapping, laboratory testing and rock mass classification, and gives examples of design inputs for dams, in particular concrete structures. Unweathered, intact rock materials have unconfined compressive strengths generally above 100 MPa and moderate to high modulus ratios. The rock masses, which comprise sandstones and mudstones, are commonly tectonically disturbed and have an unusual combination of very high intact strength and joints with low persistence. The effect of these properties on rock mass deformability and strength is illustrated by estimation of dam foundation deformability from tiltmeter measurements and assessment of critical foundation failure mechanisms from estimates of defect and global rock mass strengths.

Keywords: foundations, dam design, rock mass strength, rock mass deformability, greywacke

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