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Monitoring the frictional behavior of rock discontinuities is essential for the identification of potential natural hazards caused by mechanical instability. Active seismic monitoring of changes in transmitted and/or reflected compressional (P) and shear (S) waves has been used as a non-destructive method to assess the degree of damage inside rock and to monitor slip along a discontinuity. The objective of this study is to explore the geophysical response of a saturated rock joint undergoing shear. Laboratory shear tests are conducted on prismatic Indiana limestone specimens. Induced tension fractures resulted in specimens composed of two blocks (152.4 mm 127.0 mm 50.8 mm) with rough contact surfaces. Direct shear experiments were performed inside a metal confinement chamber under an effective normal stress of 2 MPa on water-saturated specimens. During the experiments, the chamber pressure, the total normal load, the shear load and the slip displacement were monitored. During the tests, continuous pulses of P- and S-waves were transmitted through the specimen and the amplitudes of the transmitted and reflected waves were recorded. The paper provides results of the mechanical and geophysical response of saturated joints and compares them with those obtained from similar, but dry, joints. For dry joints, bothmore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
Transmitted, Reflected, and Converted Modes of Seismic Precursors to Shear Failure of Rock DiscontinuitiesThe failure of rock along pre-existing discontinuities is a major concern when building structures on or in rock. A goal is to develop methodologies to identify signatures of imminent shear failure along discontinuities to enable implementation of measures to prevent the collapse of a structure. Previous studies identified precursory seismic signatures of shear failure along rock discontinuities in transmitted and reflected signals. Here, laboratory direct shear experiments were conducted on idealized saw-tooth discontinuities in gypsum to determine the differences or similarities in precursors observed in transmitted, reflected and converted elastic waves. Digital Image Correlation (DIC) was used to quantify the vertical and horizontal displacements along the discontinuity during shearing to relate the location and magnitude of slip with the measured wave amplitudes. Results from the experiments showed that seismic precursors to failure appeared as maxima in the transmitted wave amplitude and conversely as minima in the reflected amplitudes. Converted waves (S to P & P to S) were also detected and their amplitudes reached a maximum prior to shear failure. DIC results showed that slip occurred first at the top of the specimen, where the load was applied, and then progressed along the joint as the shear stress increased. Thismore »
contain conspicuous acknowledgement of where and by whom the paper was presented. ABSTRACT: Shear strength along discontinuities plays a crucial role in the stability of rock structures. The development of geophysical methods to remotely monitor and assess changes in shear strength is essential to the identification of rock hazards that can lead to the loss of life and failure of civilian infrastructure. In this study, compressional and shear ultrasonic waves were used to monitor slip along discontinuities (with different surface profiles) during shearing. A series of laboratory direct shear experiments were performed on two gypsum blocks separated by a frictional discontinuity. The gypsum blocks had perfectly matched contact surfaces with a half-cycle sine wave profile that spanned the central third of the discontinuity, surrounded by planar surfaces. The amplitude of the half-cycle sine wave was varied and ranged between 2 to 10 times the height of the asperities. Compressional, P, and shear, S, ultrasonic waves were continuously transmitted and recorded throughout the shearing process, while Digital Image Correlation (DIC) was used to capture surface displacements. At low normal stresses, distinct maxima in the normalized P and S wave transmitted amplitudes occurred before shear failure in regions where dilation was observed.more »