Rock joint surfaces measurement and analysis of aperture distribution under different normal and shear loading using GIS

M. Sharifzadeh, Y. Mitani, T. Esaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


The geometry of the rock joint is a governing factor for joint mechanical and hydraulic behaviour. A new method for evaluating the aperture distribution, based on measurement of joint surfaces and three dimensional characteristics of each surface, is developed. This method allows one to determine and visualize the aperture distribution under different normal stresses and shear displacements, which is difficult to observe experimentally. A new laser scanner system is designed and developed for joint surface measurements. Special attention is paid to both surfaces' data gained by measurements and processing, such as x-y coordinate table modification, data referencing, and matching between upper and lower surfaces. The surfaces of an artificial joint in granite are measured, processed, analyzed and three dimensional approaches are carried out for surface characterization. Parameters such as "asperity's heights", "slope angles", and "aspects" distribution at micro scale, local concentration of elements and their spatial localization at local scale are determined by Geographic Information System (GIS). These parameters are used for joint surfaces matching and its real behavior quantitative analysis. The upper surface is brought down to make contact with the lower surface and the distance between the two surfaces is evaluated from the joint mean experimental aperture, which is obtained from normal and shear tests. Changes of aperture distribution at different normal stresses and various shear displacements are visualized and interpreted. Increasing normal load causes negative changes in aperture frequency distribution which indicates high joint matching. However, increasing shear displacement causes a rapid increase in the aperture and positive changes in the aperture frequency distribution, which could be due to un-matching, surface anisotropy and spatial localization of contact points with proceeding shear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-323
Number of pages25
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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