Journal of Geological Research

Journal of Geological Research / 2012 / Article

Research Article | Open Access

Volume 2012 |Article ID 839050 | https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/839050

R. Ajalloeian, A. R. Samadi Soofi, M. Salavati, "Engineering Geological Assessment of Diversion Tunnel of Bakhtiari Damsite (Biggest Two-Arch Concrete Dam in Southern Iran)", Journal of Geological Research, vol. 2012, Article ID 839050, 8 pages, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/839050

Engineering Geological Assessment of Diversion Tunnel of Bakhtiari Damsite (Biggest Two-Arch Concrete Dam in Southern Iran)

Academic Editor: Atle Nesje
Received16 Mar 2012
Revised16 Aug 2012
Accepted16 Aug 2012
Published04 Oct 2012

Abstract

Bakhtiari dam is located on the Bakhtiari river, 120 km away from the north of the Andimeshk city. Upper diversion tunnel of this dam with large cross section (13.7 m excavation diameter) and more than 1 km length is a huge construction. The tunnel is placed in the Sarvak formation carbonate rocks of Bangestan group which passes through seven different geological zones with various specifications (SV1, SV2, SV3, SV4, SV5, SV6, and SV7). Joint studies show two main discontinuit including bedding and a main group of joint (J1) together with random joints (faults and fractures). Most of discontinuities have been filled mainly by calcite or calcite and clay. Data deduced from testing and analysis shows good-to-excellent RQD classes with 75 to 90 values. Based on RMR and Q methods, generally rock masses have good to very good quality with 61 to 95 values for RMR and 10 to 35 values for Q. Based on conducted stability analysis, suitable supports were suggested for tunnel by RMR and Q methods. As a result, it can be concluded that all units have a good stability. Therefore, systematic rock bolting with 40–50 mm unreinforced shotcrete has been proposed for some special place. For rock support, according to RMR method, 3 m rock bolts in crown, 2.5 m spacing and with 50 mm shotcrete in crown has been proposed also 3 m rock bolts, based on Q method, 2.3-2.4 m spacing with systematic Bolting without shotcrete or 40 mm unreinforced shotcrete in some units, has been proposed. According to RMR method, for SV5 zone with very good and excellent quality, local 33 bolting without shotcrete and 3m rock bolts, 3 m spacing and spot bolting according to Q method has been proposed.

1. Introduction

In recent years, following the increasing need to create spaces underground with larger scale and in greater depth in poor areas (such as underwater), identifying more and more of the earth is evident. In relation to construction of dams, geological survey is the most important parts of studies which can be useful and valuable information about the design of underground spaces offer [2]. Feasibility of these constructions in natural materials, such as rock and soil, causes the geological conditions to play a major role in their stability [3]. Dams are considered as one of the most important civil structures. Arch dams with high stresses on their foundation highlight the role of rock mechanics studies. It should be noted that many geological data cannot be directly applied in the design of underground constructions, so in recent years; many efforts have been made for geotechnical classification [4]. In order to design dam and its appurtenant structures and assure about their stability, it is required to evaluate the engineering behavior of their surrounding rock masses. In this regard, physical and mechanical properties of the rock masses should be estimated based on engineering geological and rock mechanics field and laboratory investigations.

Rock mass characterization is normally carried out through the application of empirical classification systems, which use a set of geotechnical data and provide an overall description of the rock properties [6]. Moreover, they provide other important information like support needs, stand-up time, and geotechnical parameter among others [7]. Two of the most used classification systems are the RMR—Rock Mass Rating and the Q-system [7]. RMR and Q systems have evolved over time to better reflect the perceived influence of various rock-mass factors on excavation stability [8]. Stability and support design for water diversion tunnel of Bakhtiari dam, based on five boreholes at the upstream and downstream cofferdams and four boreholes along the diversion tunnels path, has been investigated in previous studies [9]. This paper presents the results of rock mechanics studies of the upper diversion tunnels at Bakhtiari dam site based on Q and RMR indices during excavation and construction and finally rock-support design have been proposed for them.

2. Methodology

In this research, according to a detailed study during drilling, engineering geological properties and stability for upper water diversion tunnel of the Bakhtiari Dam has been investigated and rock support design has been proposed.

For this purpose, lithological properties of rocks along the tunnel were evaluated during drilling with the manual sampling. During drilling, properties of discontinuity (such as dip/dip direction, roughness, Infilling, and spacing) in the rocks were studied. Series of data required for the investigation have resulted from testing and analysis of the excavated. These data indicate physical and mechanical properties of the seven various rock zones, including joint sets and discontinuities types with its properties. Based on these data, the values of RQD, RMR, and Q and class of all the seven zone rocks were determined. Finally, Stability analysis has been conducted, and appropriate supports were suggested for tunnel by RMR and Q methods.

3. Discussion

3.1. Geological Setting

Bakhtiari dam as the world’s tallest concrete dam, is located in lower part of Bakhtiari river in Lurestan province and in southwest Iran, in southwestern of Zagros Mountains and in regional with 48°, 46′, 50′′ east length and 41°, 57′, 32′′ north latitude [11] (Figure 1). Deviation system of Bakhtiari dam includes two tunnels, namely upper and lower tunnels. The diameter of circular cross-section of the upper tunnel is 13.7 m, and the length of this tunnel is 1181 m [11].

According to the interpretation of surface geology and data from drilling and exploration boreholes, damsite and its surrounding consists of folded carbonate sedimentary rocks which belong to Sarvak formation from Bangestan group. Rock type in diversion dam system in the Bakhtiyari damsite is mainly composed of carbonate deposits from Sarvak formations [12].

The Sarvak formation is divided into 7 units from SV1 (oldest) to SV7 (youngest) [13]. In Figure 2, longitudinal geological section of upper diversion tunnel has been shown. Table 1 illustrates the above mentioned units in detail. It is necessary to mention that the SV1 unit is not exposed in this area and hidden under the SV2 unit.


Formation length in the upper tunnel during excavation (m)Formation characteristicsParameter

78Marly limestone (gray color if fresh or moderately weathered) with intercalations of marls and shales. Thickness of marly limestone layers varies from 0.15 to 0.4 m and shale layers change from 3 to 15 cm.SV2

233Alternating layers of dark gray marly limestone and siliceous limestone. Limestone layers have thickness between 10 to 30 cm, and siliceous limestone layers are 5 to 20 cm thick.SV3

134Is similar to part SV3 with a large number of discontinuities that leads to changes in some parameters.SV3 (disturbed)

88Medium to thick layered limestone of dark grey color, if fresh, and grey color if moderately weathered with small nodules of siliceous limestone including some chert and very thin intercalation of marl layers separate the limestone beds. SV4

183Thick to very thick gray nodular limestone with silica nodules and rarely made of chertSV5

89Medium to thickest dark gray limestone and marly limestone with intercalations.SV6

105Thin to medium thick of dark gray to black limestone and marly limestone layers (0.2 to 0.4 m) with thin marly intercalations. Thicknesses of these layers vary from 20 to 40 cm.SV7

Structurally, two anticline (Giriveh and Siah Kuh anticline) and three faults (F1, F2, and F3 fault) are seen in the studied area.(i)F1 fault caused the chevron fold zone and thus increased the amount of d discontinuities in the tunnel inlet portal.(ii)F3 fault splits into two branches and crosses the middle part of the diversion tunnels.(iii)F2 fault affects the end part of the tunnels.

3.2. Discontinuities System

The framework of all rock mechanics analysis is based on geological data [14]. These data help to identify the types of rocks, rock-mass characteristics and structural discontinuity [15]. In order to identify and determine the quality and effectiveness of discontinuities on rock mass behavior requires that the discontinuities in the quality such as discontinuity system or rock structure are explained [16]. Joint study in all parts of the rock mass show that the main discontinuities in the Bakhtiari dam diversion section consists of two set of discontinuities, bedding, a major joint (J1), and also random joints (faults and fractures).

Characteristics of discontinuities have been studied during the drilling of the tunnel (underground). The dip and dip directions of the discontinuities are presented in Table 2, and specifications of the bedding and J1 joint system are presented in Table 3.


Dip direction/dipDiscontinuity type

200/85Bedding
315/45J1 joint set
VariableRandom joint set


Discontinuity typeRoughness FillingSpacing (mm)

Rough (R)34%Clean10%≤145%
Smooth (Sm)35%Calcite-clay29%1–542%
BeddingSlicken Slid (Sl)26%Calcite36%5–108%
Diverse5%Clay20%10–505%
Diverse5%Diverse0%

Total100%Total100%Total100%

Main joint (J1)Rough (R)86%Clean5%≤14%
Smooth (Sm)5%Calcite-clay6%1–546%
R-Sm5%Calcite70%5–105%
Slicken slid (Sl)4%Clay14%10–504%
Diverse0%Iron oxide5%>500%

Total100%Total100%Total100%

3.3. Rock Mass
3.3.1. Classification

Engineering classification of rock masses is presented in various ways by different researchers and has been used for designing tunnel supports by many researchers [1720]. The main aims of application of rock-mass classification systems are to classify the rock masses existing at a project site, based on their main geotechnical feature and to estimate the geotechnical parameters of the rock masses. The role of classification is generally to get a better overview of a phenomenon or set of data in order to understand them or to take different actions concerning them [21]. In this regard, simple techniques are used for quantitative evaluation of a number of the main geotechnical features of the rock masses and then the rock masses are classified based on these classification systems.

In order to classify the rock masses in the Bakhtiari dam diversion tunnel, the rock-mass quality-index method (RQD), geomechanical rock-mass rating (RMR) and rock mass classification of tunnels containing the Q system are used.

3.3.2. Rock-Mass Quality Index (RQD)

Rock-mass quality index can be measured through direct core drilling or indirect, in cases where there is no possibility of the core, such as seismic methods or volumetric counting joints. In the project area, geological structures such as the F1, F2, and F3 faults, the kink-band zones, the anticline-axis zone, the joint sets, and in some cases the lithological bedding planes have a remarkable effect on the RQD value.

According to this method, the numerical quality-index values corresponding to each part of the rock masses of the Bakhtiari dam tunnel has been done. In order to determine the numerical values of rock mass quality index from the volumetric joint count method in the surface outcrops and the tunnel space, that proposed by Palmstrom was used [2225]. Under this method, small amounts of this parameter are measured in accordance with the following equation: In this regard, the JV is the total number of discontinuities in rock mass per unit volume. Based on RQD values five definite rock-mass classes are described (Table 4) [1]. RQD values in all zones have been calculated and their descriptions are presented in Table 5.


RQD0–2525–5050–7575–9090–100

DescriptionVery poorPoorFairGoodExcellent


Rock unitSV2SV3SV3 DisSV2 and SV3SV4SV5SV6SV5 and SV6 DisSV7F2 fault zone

RQD80807575809580759065
DescriptionGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodExcellentGoodGoodGoodFair

3.3.3. Geomechanical Rock-Mass Rating (RMR)

RMR is one of the various methods in geomechanic rating [26]. Geomechanical rock mass rating (RMR) was introduced in scientific research and industrial (CSIR) in South Africa by Bieniawski [27]. It was based on his experiences in shallow tunnels in sedimentary rocks.

All the rock units along the diversion tunnels have been classified using RMR system proposed by Bieniawski [5]. In Table 6, ranges of RMR values for the five definite rock-mass classes along with their description as suggested by Bieniawski [5] are shown. The final results of RMR classification of the rock masses along the upper diversion tunnel together with their description are presented in Table 8. As it is shown in Table 7, different rock units along the upper diversion tunnel are classified using RMR system, have good to very good Quality.


RMR81–10061–8041–6021–40<20

Rock-mass classIIIIIIIVV
DescriptionVery goodGoodFairPoorVery poor


Rock unitsSV2SV3SV3 disSV2 and SV3SV4SV5SV6SV5 and SV6 disSV7F2 fault zone

RMR75776861809577617561
DescriptionGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodVery GoodGoodGoodGoodGood
Rock mass classIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII


Rock-mass classDescription

1000–400 IExceptionally good
400–100Extremely good
100–40Very good
40–10Good

10–4 IIFair
4–1Poor
1–0.1Very poor

0.1–0.01 IIIExtremely poor
0.01–0.001Exceptionally poor

3.3.4. Rock-Mass Quality (Q)

Rock-mass quality (Q) system that was developed by Barton et al. [1], mainly for tunneling has been proposed. In this classification system, the Q values of the rock masses along the tunnels are evaluated based on six parameters, and the required support system is specified for each rock mass [10, 17]. The Q system is developed as an empirical design method for estimating rock support [28]. The ranges of Q values are illustrated in Table 8. Accordingly, the Q values for the rock masses of different geological units along the di version tunnels are presented in Table 9. Based on Tables 8 and 9, all rock units have good quality in the Q classification.


Rock unitsSV2SV3SV3 DisSV2 and SV3SV4SV5SV6SV5 and SV6 DisSV7F2 fault zone

14151110153514111210
DescriptionGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGood

3.4. Rock-Support Design Based on Empirical Methods

Empirical methods have been developed based on the statistical analysis of the records on the stability and also instability of underground excavations performed in different types of rock masses in several countries. The two most widely used engineering rock-mass classification systems for estimating rock support system of underground openings are “Rock Mass Rating” (RMR) and “Rock-Mass Quality” (Q). These classification systems have been applied for categorizing the rock masses along the diversion tunnels.

As the first step of rock support design for the diversion tunnels at Bakhtiari project site, having the results of rock-mass classifications by the two above mentioned systems, the rock-support measures relevant to each rock mass class have been estimated and proposed in the following sections.

3.5. Estimation of Rock-Support System Based on RMR

The required rock-support systems for the upper diversion tunnel were estimated considering the RMR values attributed to the rock masses along these tunnels, as presented in Table 8. A guideline proposed by Bieniawski [5] for selection of the tunnel rock-support measures when they are excavated in one of the five main rock-mass classes of RMR system. The estimated rock-support systems for the diversion tunnels are presented in Table 10.


Rock masses of different geological unitsRMRRock-mass classProposed Fully grouted rock bolt ( 20 mm)Rock ShocreteSupport Steel Rib

SV275II3 m rock bolts in crown at 2.5 m spacing50 mm in crownNo need
SV377II3 m rock bolts in crown at 2.5 m spacing50 mm in crownNo need
SV3 Dis68II3 m rock bolts in crown at 2.5 m spacing50 mm in crownNo need
SV2 and SV361II3 m rock bolts in crown at 2.5 m spacing50 mm in crownNo need
SV480II3 m rock bolts in crown at 2.5 m spacing50 mm in crownNo need
SV595ILocal boltingNo needNo need
SV677II3 m rock bolts in crown at 2.5 m spacing50 mm in crownNo need
SV5 and SV6 Dis61II3 m rock bolts in crown at 2.5 m spacing50 mm in crownNo need
SV775II3 m rock bolts in crown at 2.5 m spacing50 mm in crownNo need
F2 fault zone61II3 m rock bolts in crown at 2.5 m spacing50 mm in crownNo need

3.6. Estimation of Rock-Support System Based on Q

In order to estimate the required rock support system for an underground opening based on the Q support chart, the diameter or height (m) of excavation span shall be converted to “Excavation equivalent dimension” (De). In this regard, real diameter should be corrected by dividing it to a parameter called as “Excavation Support Ratio” (ESR) which is related to the intended use of the excavation and degree of security which is demanded of the support system installed to maintain the stability of the excavation. The relevant ESR value for the diversion tunnel was taken as 1.6, according to Barton et al. [1]. Excavation diameter of the upper diversion tunnels is 13.7 m. Having De and Q-values for different types of rock masses along the diversion tunnels, the required rock support measures for the different rock masses were estimated based on the Q-support chart proposed by Grimstad and Barton [10] as shown in Figure 3. The results of estimation of the required rock support system for the diversion tunnel are presented in Table 11.


Rock masses of different geological units ProposedRockSupport
untensioned rock
bolt (fully grouted)
ShotcreteSteel Rib

SV2143 m rock bolts at 2.4 m spacingSystematic boltingNo need
SV3153 m rock bolts at 2.4 m spacingSystematic boltingNo need
SV3 Dis113 m rock bolts at 2.3 m spacingSystematic bolting with 40 mm unreinforced shotcreteNo need
SV2 and SV3103 m rock bolts at 2.3 m spacingSystematic bolting with 40 mm unreinforced shotcreteNo need
SV4153 m rock bolts at 2.4 m spacingSystematic bolting No need
SV5353 m rock bolts at 3 m spacingSpot bolting
SV6143 m rock bolts at 2.4 m spacingSystematic bolting No need
SV5 and SV6 Dis113 m rock bolts at 2.3 m spacingSystematic bolting with 40 mm unreinforced shotcreteNo need
SV7123 m rock bolts at 2.3 m spacingSystematic bolting with 40 mm unreinforced shotcreteNo need
F2 fault zone103 m rock bolts at 2.3 m spacingSystematic bolting with 40 mm unreinforced shotcreteNo need

4. Summary and Conclusion

Based on studies conducted during the drilling upper di version tunnel of Bakhtiari dam, was found that:(i)The upper di version tunnels of the Bakhtiari dam passes through seven different geological zones (SV1 to SV7 and F2 fault zone) that mainly have consisted of carbonate deposits of Sarvak formation from Bangestan group.(ii)Much of these parts are formed of marly limestone with different thicknesses that sometimes have been associated with the shale layers. SV4 and SV5 parts were formed of the thick limestone layer with nodules mainly made of siliceous limestone and rarely chert.(iii)Based on joint studies, there are two main discontinuities including bedding and major joint (J1) associated with random joint (faults and fractures).(iv)About 45 percent of the discontinuities have 1 mm spacing, and 42 percent of them show 5–1 mm spacing and almost all of them have been filled mainly by calcite or calcite and clay.(v)According to the rock-mass classification methods (especially methods of RMR and Q), the rock masses in diversion tunnel have been in the good to very good quality category.(vi)Based on RQD all unites show 75 to 90 value range (except F2 fault zone with 61 values) and good to excellent quality.(vii)In both (RMR and Q) systems most of the rock units hosting the tunnel fall into good to very good class.(viii)According to RMR method, 3 m rock bolts in crown, 2.5 m spacing and with 50 mm shotcrete in crown has been proposed.(ix)Based on Q method, 2.3-2.4 m spacing with Systematic Bolting without shotcrete or 40 mm unreinforced shotcrete in some units has been proposed.(x)For SV5 zone with very good and excellent quality, local bolting without shotcrete according to RMR-method and 3 m rock bolts, 3 m spacing and spot bolting according to Q method has been proposed.

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Copyright © 2012 R. Ajalloeian et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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