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Rock Mechanics Lecture Material

Rock Mechanics Lecture Material

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Published by: maratamilan on Aug 04, 2010
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07/21/2013

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A geological joint is a generally planar fracture formed in a rock as a result of extensional
stress. Joints are always in sets. Joints do not have any significant offset of strata either
vertically or horizontally (Figure 2.2.1a).

Figure 2.2.1a Typical joints seen (i) one dominant set, (ii) three sets.

Joints can be formed due to erosion of the overlying strata exposed at the surface. The
removal of overlying rock results in change of stresses, and hence leads to the fracturing
of underlying rock. Joints can also be caused by cooling of hot rock masses, which form
cooling joints. Columnar jointing or columnar basalts are typical joint features by
cooling. Joints are also formed by tectonic movement. Joints are often in sets. A joint set
is a group of parallel joints. Typically, a rock mass can have between one to a few joint
sets. Joints are the most common type of rock discontinuities. They are generally
considered as part of the rock mass, as the spacing of joints usually is between a few
centimetres and a few metres.

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