You are on page 1of 6


Rock Fragmentation by Blasting Singh & Sinha (Eds)

2013 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 978-0-415-62143-4
Evaluation of the effect of ground vibration due to blasting on adjacent
structures in dam construction projects
H. Bakhshandeh Amnieh & A. Siamaki
Mining engineering department, Kashan university, Iran
ABSTRACT: Only a proportion of the energy released from blasting is consumed for fragmentation of
the rock mass. A sizable proportion of the energy is wasted in air-blast, ground vibration and fly-rock.
Stress waves propagated in the surrounding environment transfers the energy to the nearby structures.
In case induced ground vibration exceeds the allowable threshold for the specific structure, this will lead
to considerable damage and financial loss. In this article, the influence of ground vibrations produced
in 4 dams of Eevashan, Kangir, Shian and Gotvand have been investigated, on the adjacent structures
including local village house and power-plant infrastructure. Explosions were carried out at distances of
200700 m and having used 3-component seismographs (PG 2002), the vibrations were recorded. Having
studied these, relations and limitations have been proposed for all four dams, and an attempt was made to
introduce a general empirical relation for estimation of peak particle velocity. Since Shian, Eivashan and
Kangir dams are near residential areas, some relations for the prediction of the PPV at these areas were
presented based on the relation proposed by the USBM. In addition the amount of the permissible charge
weights for different distances from the blasting point was proposed based on DIN 4150-3:1999 and ISO
4866:1990. Gotvand dam blasts effect on tunnels linings and the concrete structure of phase 1 power
plant were investigated and a relation for the determination of the charge weight at different distances
from the concrete structure of phase 1 power plant was proposed.
effect causes a decrease in the wave range due to its
geometric propagation. They rewrote the relation
proposed by the USBM based on the non-elastic
damping factor. Pal Roy (1991) assumed that when
vibrating waves propagate in the rock mass, there
is an increase in its volume which decreases the
density of the energy. The density reduction proc-
ess, considering a geometrical propagation, causes
a reduction in the energy during the wave propa-
gationhence, a reduction in its range [White &
Farnfielf, 1993; Bhandri, 1997; Singh & Lamond,
1993; Sastry & Singh, 1992; Pal Roy et al., 1992].
Table 1 shows some relations proposed by different
Vibrations caused by blasting have always been a
problem in construction projects because of the
damage to the surrounding residential and indus-
trial buildings, and the complaints the residents
have lodged. This is why blasting operations are
designed and performed so as to suit different
structures, considering the available standards.
The amount of the allowable charge and the suit-
able relation for the prediction of the Peak Particle
Velocity (PPV) are determined based on recorded
There are many relations for the prediction of
vibrations caused by blasting, among which the
ones presented by Cole and Lyakov in 1949 are
for concentration of the explosives in water and
saturated soils. Duvall and Fogelson (1962) of the
United States Bureau of Mining (USBM) found
that the PPV is scaled with the square of the charge
weight. Ambrasey and Hendron (1968) considered
the cube root of the maximum charge. Langefors
and Khilstrom (1973) presented a relation for the
prediction of the PPV based on Q/D
, which is
acceptable for different charge weights. Ghosh
and Deamen (1983) stated that numerous non-
elastic factors cause a reduction in the energy of
the wave during its propagation; this non-elastic
Table 1. Some relations proposed for the prediction of
Investigator Relation

Duvall and Fogelson (1962) PPV = K(D/Q
Ambrasey and Hendron (1968) PPV = K(D/Q
Langefors and Khilstrom
= ( )
/ 2 3
Ghosh and Deamen (1983) PPV = K(D/Q
Pal Roy (1991) PPV = n + K(D/Q
In these relations, PPV is the peak particle veloc-
ity, D is the distance from the explosion point, Q is
the charge per delay, and K, b are the area param-
eters. In the relations proposed by Ghosh and
Deamen, P is the non-elastic damping factor, and
in Pal Roys proposal, n is related to parameters
affected by ground discontinuities and rock mass.
In this article, to investigate the effects of blast-
ing in dam construction projects on residential
buildings and concrete structures near the blast
area, studies were done on four dams, namely
Shian, Kangir, Eivashan and Gotvand. Blasting
data of these dams were recorded using PG-2000
3-component seismographs. In this study, vibra-
tions caused by blasting as well as the determina-
tion of suitable relations for the estimation of the
PPV and the highest charge weight were examined,
all with regard to the threshold limits.
Blasting is a low cost, economical method for
fragmentation of rock masses in mining and con-
struction projects, but the side effects are worth
considering. A serious problem in the blasting of
the above four dams was the undesirable effect of
blast vibrations on residential buildings and nearby
concrete structures.
Shian reservoir dam in the Kermanshah prov-
ince, west of Iran, is an earthen structure, and of
the homogeneous type. The height from the river
bed is 20.45 m, the crown length and width are
1005 m and 8 m, respectively, the reservoir volume,
in normal utilization range, is 9 million m
, and its
adjustment volume is 13.5 million m
. The nearest
village to the dam construction site is about 600 m,
and the residential buildings are built of mud and
bricks or adobe.
Eivashan reservoir dam in the Lorestan prov-
ince, central Iran, is an earth dam with a clay core.
The maximum height from the riverbed is 64 m, the
crown length and width are 529 m and 8 m, respec-
tively and the reservoir volume in normal utiliza-
tion range is 4.51 million m
. The village houses are
from 300 to 700 m from the dam construction site
and are of adobe, mud and wooden frameworks.
Kangir reservoir dam in the southwest of Iran
is a homogeneous earth dam. The height from the
riverbed is 42 m. The nearest village to it is about
1500 m away, with adobe, mud and brick houses.
Some have wooden frameworks and brick walls.
Gotvand dam and its power plant are in Khooz-
estan province. The main objective of this hydro-
electrical dam is to produce 4500 mkw/hr of energy.
It is an earthen dam with a clay core, 180 m in
height and a crown length of 640 m. The maximum
thickness of the crown is 15 m. The dam body is
estimated to be about 29 million m
, and the over-
all reservoir capacity is about 4.5 billion m
Geologically, Shian, Kangir and Eivashan dam
sites are in the Gachsaran formation which, in
general, consists of Asmari limestone. This forma-
tion consists of grey, green and red clay lime along
with Asmari limestone with silicate sandstone.
Gotvand dam is located in the stratified Zagros
zone, which includes the Bakhtiari and Aghajari
formations and a middle zone. The Bakhtiari is
formed by conglomeration of different degrees of
cementation in sandstone and mudstone veins. The
Aghajari formation consists of successively strong
and weak mudstone and sandstone layers [Mahab
Ghodss & Coyne et al., Bellier, 2000].
Eivashan, Shian and Kangir reservoir dams are
near rural and residential areas. This is why investi-
gating the vibrations due to blasting operations in
these dams and their effects on the structures and
the residential buildings around them are of spe-
cial importance. Determination of the allowable
range of the vibrations, considering the structure
type and the maximum charge weight per delay
for the blasts, is a precautionary measure taken to
reduce the rate of the vibrations and to eliminate
the damage to residential buildings.
To achieve safe vibrations in the above areas,
six 3-component records from Shian, six from
Eivashan and seven from Kangir have been
obtained from seven blasts. Table 2 shows the
number of the records for different distances.
3.1 Determination of a suitable relation for the
prediction of the PPV
The objective of recording the data obtained from
blasting operations in these three dams is not only
to determine the proper charge weight to lessen
the damage to residential buildings, but also to
find suitable relations for the prediction of the
PPV. A very important relation for the prediction
Table 2. Recorded data frequency at different
Distance from blasting (m) No. of records
200400 6
400600 5
600800 4
8001000 4
of the blast induced vibrations is proposed by the
USBM. Figure 1 shows the changes in the PPV
of the recorded data for the scaled distance of the
above mentioned dams.
Consider Figure 1. To find the constants of
the relation proposed by the USBM, a regression
analysis was performed on the data recorded for
each dam. As seen in Figure 1D, it is not possible
to achieve a single relation for the prediction of the
PPV because of the scattered data (due to different
geological conditions). Therefore, the constants K
and b in the USBM relation and the correlation
coefficient are found according to Table 3 by doing
regression on the data found for each dam. In gen-
eral, if the correlation coefficient is more than 0.7,
the relation is acceptable [Azimi et al., 2010]. To
make sure of the capability of the calculated con-
stants and coefficients, the relative error of the
results from the relations was determined. Accord-
ing to Table 3, the relative error found from these 3
relations is in the acceptable range.
Before blasting operations, we visited the residen-
tial areas near these dams to study the structures.
Most of them are made of adobe, mud and bricks
and few have wooden skeletons; metal structures are
rare. There were some radial and diagonal cracks
on the structures as a result of previous blasts.
According to the USBM, vibrations having frequen-
cies less than 40 Hz have more potential to harm
structures [Siskind et al., 1980]. This is why there will
be unforeseen damage if these points are neglected.
The recorded wave frequencies of these 3
dams are within a range of 10 to 40 Hz. There-
fore, we considered the structure type and vibrat-
ing frequencies, and the regulations applicable to
them. According to DIN 4150-3:1999 and ISO
4866:1990 codes, the allowable rate of vibration
for such structures is 4 mm/s, and according to the
USBM, it is 12.5 mm/s [DIN, 1999; ISO, 1990]. As
seen in Figure 2, only one wave with a vibration
of 6.7 mm/s is above the threshold, but consider-
ing the USBM code, it is within the safe limits.
Other records are less than 4 mm/s (the allowable
limit) and about 90% are below 1 mm/s. Therefore,
considering the structure types, the vibrations
caused by blasting in these areas are within the
safe limits.
To increase safety, the permissible amount of
charge weight for Eivashan dam was determined
according to Table 4.
Gotvand dam waterway system consists of 4 tunnels,
each with a diameter of 11 m, that channel water
through the intake structure and hydro- mechanical
equipment. Considering the water pressure, and to
prevent cavitation, the intake tunnels are connected
Figure 1. The PPVscaled distance changes of
the recorded data. AKangir dam, BShian dam,
CEivashan dam, DComparison of the data of the
3 dams.
Table 3. Results obtained by the analysis of the data
recorded at Shian, Eivashan and Kangir dams.
Dam b K R
(%) Relative
Shian -2.3 841.16 0.913 17.47
Eivashan -2.514 19946 0.936 28.4
Kangir -1.73 175.49 0.811 15.71
Table 4. Maximum charge weight for dif-
ferent distances from residential areas.
Distance from
blasting (m)
Maximum charge
per delay (kg)
50 2.9
100 11.6
200 46
300 104
400 185
500 290
600 417
700 568
Figure 2. Gotvand dam tunnelsschematic view.
to shock absorber storage tanks along their path
by some shafts. In their path, the intake tunnels
reach a turnout and increase to 8 tunnels, 7 m in
diameter each. Then, after a short distance, they
reach the vertical shafts and continue on a hori-
zontal route, with high pressure, and finally, enter
the power plant. Figure 2 shows the tunnel struc-
tures of this dam [1].
Concrete structures, tunnel lining and other
concrete works in the power plant, existing on the
dam construction site, are among the structures
susceptible to blasting vibrations. It is necessary,
then, that special care be taken of such structures,
according to the age of the concrete, so that the
probable damage may be prevented. The objective
of this section is to investigate the effects of the
blasting vibrations on the lining of Gotvand dam
under the pressure tunnels, and on the power plant
phase 1 concrete structure.
4.1 Effects of Gotvand dam blasting on the
underground structures
The objective of this section is to study the effects
of the blasting of the intake and surge tanks on the
lining of phase 1 intake tunnels. For this propose,
the records of 7 blasts including 23 3-component
records were recorded. There were 4 blasts in the
intakes, 2 in the surge tanks, and 1 in the spillway.
The locations of the seismographs with respect to
the structures and the blasting blocks have been
chosen so as to make it possible to record the
data in a 120 degree radius of effect of the wave
The maximum charge weight per delay for the
blasts of the intake face is 32 kg, and for the tun-
nels, benching is 120 to 300 kg. The seismographs
are located at 56.2 to 145.5 m from the center of
the blasting blocks. The maximum charge weight
per delay for the blasts of the surge tank face is
75 kg and for the tunnels, benching is 122 kg.
The distance of the seismographs from the blast
area is 36.5 to 172.8 m. Figure 3 shows the PPV
frequency graph of the recorded data.
To check the safety level of these vibra-
tions, USBM and Oriard criteria were used.
Figure 4 shows the maximum PPV at different dis-
tances, evaluated for 48-day old concrete according
to Oriard criteria. As seen, all the data points lie
within acceptable levels [Lucca, 2003].
Considering the results of the investigation of
the effects of the blasting vibrations on under-
ground structures, the third root of the scaled dis-
tance was used to predict the PPV. The empirical
relation for the prediction of the PPV with a cor-
relation coefficient of 0.825 was achieved by per-
forming a regression on the recorded data (Fig. 5),
using the Ambrasey and Hendron relation.

9908 8
2 804
. ( / )

where PPV is the peak particle velocity, mm/s.
D is the distance from the blasting point, m. Q is
the maximum charge weight per delay, kg.
Considering the proposed relation for the pre-
diction of the PPV and the USBM permissible
vibration for 48-hour old concrete, the maximum
charge weight for the blasts of the tunnels bench-
ing was determined to be 180 kg.
Figure 3. PPVfrequency graph of the recorded data
of Gotvand dam.
Figure 4. PPVdistance graph based on Oriard per-
missible vibration limits.
Figure 5. Results of regression analysis on the vibra-
tions data recorded near the lining of Gotvand water way
4.2 Effects of Gotvand dam blasts on the
structure of its phase 1 power plant
To study the effects of the vibrations caused by
blasting carried out near Gotvand dam crater on
the structure and equipment of the phase 1 power
plant, the vibrations of 12 blasting, including 27
3-component data, were recorded. The total charge
weight varied between 130 and 1050 kgs, and the
largest and the least distances of the seismographs
from the blasting point were 203 and 24.1 m,
respectively. Considering the range of frequencies,
the USBM code was used, which is in terms of
PPVfrequency. As seen in Figure 6, all the vibra-
tions lie in acceptable levels. Also the vibrations
for 48-hour old concrete are at an acceptable level,
according to the US Army code.
The purpose of recording the data, apart from
studying the blasting vibrations, is to determine
the area coefficients. Therefore, regression analysis
was carried out on the PPV and the scaled distance
parameters with a safety factor of about 90%,
using the recorded data. The correlation coeffi-
cient has been 72%, which is at an acceptable level.
Figure 7 shows the regression analysis of the data
recorded at the blasting operations of the power
plant crater of Gotvand dam.
Based on statistical findings, constant param-
eters of site (K and b) in this area are 183.35 and
0.86, respectively. Therefore, the proper relation
for the estimation of the PPV caused by blasting
at the power plant crater of Gotvand dam, based
on the relation proposed by Duvall and Fogelson,
is as follows:

183 35
0 86
. ( / )
Rewriting relation 2 on the basis of the amount
of the specific charge and using the US Army EM
2002-2-1110 code as a basis for the possible vibra-
tion limit in concrete structures, we may estimate
the charge weight per delay at different distances
from the power plant structure [Woodson, 2011].
On this basis, the permissible charge weight per
delay for concrete of age more than 48 hours
and for different distances can be determined as
Q D = 0 92
. (3)
In this investigation, the effects of the vibrations
caused by blasting in dam construction projects
and on the nearby structures were studied. This
is important in Shian, Eivashan and Kangir dams
because they are near rural areas. This is the rea-
son the data recorded at these 3 dams were inves-
tigated, and some relations for the prediction of
the PPV at these areas were presented based on the
relation proposed by the USBM. Based on DIN
4150-3:1999 and ISO 4866:1990, the permissible
vibration levels for the rural houses were deter-
mined and, based on those, the amount of the
permissible charge weights for different distances
from the blasting point were estimated.
Gotvand dam blasts are important because
they are close to the tunnels linings and the con-
crete structure of the phase 1 power plant, and
may damage them. This is why the vibrations
in these two areas were studied, and some rela-
tions were presented for the prediction of the
PPV using the relations proposed by the USBM
and Ambrasey and Hendron. The permissible
charge weight amounted to 180 kg for the vibra-
tion near the waterway tunnels lining. Also, the
relation Q = 0.92D
was proposed for the deter-
mination of the charge weight at different dis-
tances from the concrete structure of phase 1
power plant.


50.8 mm/s (2 in/s)

Plaster 12.7 mm/s
Drywall 19 mm/s





Figure 6. PPVfrequency graph of the data recorded
near the structure of Gotvand dam phase 1 power plant.
1 10 100

Scale Distance (m/kg^0.5)
Figure 7. Regression analysis on the vibrations recorded
near phase 1 structure of Gotvand dam.
Azimi, Y., Khoshrou, S.H., Osanloo, M., Sadeghee, A.
2010. Seismic wave monitoring and ground vibration
analysis for bench blasting in Sungun open pit copper
mine. Fragmentation by Blasting: 561670. Taylor &
Francis Group.
Bhandari, S. 1977. Engineering Rock Blasting Opera-
tions: 213230. Rotterdam: Balkema.
DIN 4150-3:1999. 1999. Structural vibrationEffects of
vibration on structures.
ISO 4866:1990. 1990. Mechanical vibration and shock,
Vibration of buildings, Guidelines for the measure-
ment of vibrations and evaluation of their effects on
Lucca, F.J. 2003. Tight construction blasting: ground
vibration basics, monitoring and prediction. Terra
Dinamica LLC.
Mahab Ghodss & Coyne et al, Bellier. 2000. Geotechnical
Characteristics of Gotvand Dam Foundation.
Pal Roy, P., Singh, R.B., Barman, B.K., Bhusan, V. 1992.
Significant characteristics on the prediction and con-
trol of ground vibration due to blasting in a Lead-Zinc
Mine in India. Regional Symposium on Rock Slopes,
India: 121126.
Sastry, V.R. & Singh, D.P. 1992. Ground vibrations pro-
duced due to blasting: Prediction and control. Regional
Symposium on Rock Slopes, India: 397404.
Singh, S.P. & Lamond, R.D. 1993. Prediction and meas-
urement of blast vibration. International Journal of
Surface Mining, Reclamation and Environment.
Siskind, D.E., Stagg, M.S., Kopp, J.W., Dowding, C.H.
1980. Structure response and damage. USBM.
White, T.J. & Farnfielf, R.A. 1993. Spatial relation
between laws of vibration from blasting, Interna-
tional Journal of Surface Mining, Reclamation and
Woodson, D. 2011. Concrete portable handbook: 7075.