The Vajont landslide is a well-known, reservoir-induced slope failure that occurred on 9 October 1963 and was characterized by an 'en masse' sliding motion that triggered various large waves, determining catastrophic consequences for the nearby territory and adjacent villages. During the Vajont dam construction, and especially after the disaster, some researchers identified widespread field evidence of heavy rock mass damage involving the presumed prehistoric rockslide and/or the 1963 failed mass. This paper describes evidence of heavy gravitational damage, including (i) folding, (ii) fracturing, (iii) faulting, and (iv) intact rock disintegration. The gravity-induced rock mass damage (GRMD) characterizes the remnants of the basal shear zone, still resting on the large detachment surface, and the 1963 failed rock mass. The comprehensive geological study of the 1963 Vajont landslide, based on the recently performed geomechanical survey (2006-present) and on the critical analysis of the past photographic documentation (1959-1964), allows us to recognize that most GRMD evidence is related to the prehistoric multistage Mt. Toc rockslide. The 1963 catastrophic en masse remobilization induced an increase to the prehistoric damage, reworking preexisting structures and creating additional gravity-driven features (folds, fractures, faults, and rock fragmentation). The gravity-induced damage was formed during the slope instability phases that preceded the collapse (static or quasi-static GRMD) and also as a consequence of the sliding motion and of the devastating impact between the failed blocks (dynamic GRMD). Gravitational damage originated various types of small drag folds such as flexures, concentric folds, chevron, and kink-box folds, all having a radius of 1-5. m. Large buckle folds (radius of 10-50. m) are related to the dynamic damage and were formed during the en masse motion as a consequence of deceleration and impact processes that involved the sliding mass. Prior to failure, unstable rock slopes can be affected by diffuse newly formed gravity-driven joints that are absent in the surrounding area and within the underlying bedrock, as the Vajont case history demonstrates (joint sets J9 and J10). These fractures, caused by critical tensile and shear stresses, represent an important mechanical clue to recognizing, on a geological basis, the instability condition of a rock slope under investigation. Owing to its complex geological evolution, the Vajont landslide is an outstanding example to help learn about cumulative GRMD effects that can accumulate over time when an ancient rockslide is further remobilized by a sudden en masse sliding motion. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Gravity-induced rock mass damage related to large en masse rockslides: Evidence from Vajont

PARONUZZI, Paolo
;
2015

Abstract

The Vajont landslide is a well-known, reservoir-induced slope failure that occurred on 9 October 1963 and was characterized by an 'en masse' sliding motion that triggered various large waves, determining catastrophic consequences for the nearby territory and adjacent villages. During the Vajont dam construction, and especially after the disaster, some researchers identified widespread field evidence of heavy rock mass damage involving the presumed prehistoric rockslide and/or the 1963 failed mass. This paper describes evidence of heavy gravitational damage, including (i) folding, (ii) fracturing, (iii) faulting, and (iv) intact rock disintegration. The gravity-induced rock mass damage (GRMD) characterizes the remnants of the basal shear zone, still resting on the large detachment surface, and the 1963 failed rock mass. The comprehensive geological study of the 1963 Vajont landslide, based on the recently performed geomechanical survey (2006-present) and on the critical analysis of the past photographic documentation (1959-1964), allows us to recognize that most GRMD evidence is related to the prehistoric multistage Mt. Toc rockslide. The 1963 catastrophic en masse remobilization induced an increase to the prehistoric damage, reworking preexisting structures and creating additional gravity-driven features (folds, fractures, faults, and rock fragmentation). The gravity-induced damage was formed during the slope instability phases that preceded the collapse (static or quasi-static GRMD) and also as a consequence of the sliding motion and of the devastating impact between the failed blocks (dynamic GRMD). Gravitational damage originated various types of small drag folds such as flexures, concentric folds, chevron, and kink-box folds, all having a radius of 1-5. m. Large buckle folds (radius of 10-50. m) are related to the dynamic damage and were formed during the en masse motion as a consequence of deceleration and impact processes that involved the sliding mass. Prior to failure, unstable rock slopes can be affected by diffuse newly formed gravity-driven joints that are absent in the surrounding area and within the underlying bedrock, as the Vajont case history demonstrates (joint sets J9 and J10). These fractures, caused by critical tensile and shear stresses, represent an important mechanical clue to recognizing, on a geological basis, the instability condition of a rock slope under investigation. Owing to its complex geological evolution, the Vajont landslide is an outstanding example to help learn about cumulative GRMD effects that can accumulate over time when an ancient rockslide is further remobilized by a sudden en masse sliding motion. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11390/1127069
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