Seismic rock slope stability charts based on limit analysis methods

An-Jui Li, A.V. Lyamin, R. Merifield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


Earthquake effects are commonly considered in the stability analysis of rock slopes and other earth structures. The standard approach is often based on the conventional limit equilibrium method using equivalent Mohr–Coulomb strength parameters (c and phi) in a slip circle slope stability analysis. The purpose of this paper is to apply the finite element upper and lower bound techniques to this problem with the aim of providing seismic stability charts for rock slopes. Within the limit analysis framework, the pseudo-static method is employed by assuming a range of the seismic coefficients. Based on the latest version of Hoek–Brown failure criterion, seismic rock slope stability charts have been produced. These chart solutions bound the true stability numbers within ±9% or better and are suited to isotropic and homogeneous intact rock or heavily jointed rock masses. A comparison of the stability numbers obtained by bounding methods and the limit equilibrium method has been performed where the later was found to predict unconservative factors of safety for steeper slopes. It was also observed that the stability numbers may increase depending on the material parameters in the Hoek–Brown model. This phenomenon has been further investigated in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-148
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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