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Investigation of the Geological and

Geotechnical Characteristics of Daroongar
Dam, Northeast Iran

Article in Geotechnical and Geological Engineering November 2011

DOI: 10.1007/s10706-011-9429-6


2 498

3 authors, including:

Mohammad Ghafoori Gholam Reza Lashkaripour

Ferdowsi University Of Mashhad Ferdowsi University Of Mashhad


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Investigation of the Geological and
Geotechnical Characteristics of
Daroongar Dam, Northeast Iran

M. Ghafoori, G. R. Lashkaripour &

S. Tarigh Azali

Geotechnical and Geological

An International Journal

ISSN 0960-3182

Geotech Geol Eng

DOI 10.1007/

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DOI 10.1007/s10706-011-9429-6


Investigation of the Geological and Geotechnical

Characteristics of Daroongar Dam, Northeast Iran
M. Ghafoori G. R. Lashkaripour

S. Tarigh Azali

Received: 30 June 2008 / Accepted: 4 July 2011

Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Abstract This paper discusses the results of the classifications of the dam site is assigned using the
engineering geological and geotechnical investiga- rock mass rating (RMR), the rock quality (Q) and the
tions that have been carried out at the Daroongar dam geological strength index (GSI) classification systems.
site. According to the geomorphology and geological
conditions and economic reason, the dam has been Keywords Dam  Geological  Geotechnical 
designed as an earth dam with a clay core. The dam Rock mass  Classification  Discontinuity 
foundation is composed of a sequence of sandy Permeability
limestone and limy marl of the Upper Cretaceous
period. This study is based on field and laboratory
investigations, surface discontinuity surveying, 1 Introduction
drilled borehole data and permeability of dam
foundation. The present studies include the evalua- The under construction Daroongar dam with a crest
tion of the dam foundation by water pressure tests. length of about 470 m, a maximum height above the
The water pressure tests indicate the necessity to river bed level of 40 m, and a total storage capacity
provide a grout curtain below the dam founda- of about 20 million m3 will be built on the Daroongar
tion.The geology of the Daroongar dam foundation river, about 79 km northeast of Quchan city in the
has a significant influence on the permeability and northeast of Iran (Fig. 1). The watershed of Daroon-
groutability characteristics. The permeability of gar river in Emamgholi mountains at west of Darreh-
jointed rock masses is strongly depended on joint Gaz city is part of Gharaghum main watershed with
characteristics; degree of jointing, opening, continu- an area of 1,005 km2. The Daroongar dam is located
ity and presence of filling materials. The laboratory on a sedimentary rock with rugged terrain and
tests included tests for unit weight, porosity, uniaxial, complicated geological properties. The dam and
triaxial, tensile strength and deformation parameters. reservoir sites are located in an active seismic region
The strength and modulus of elasticity of rock masses of rugged mountainous terrain with steep slopes.
were determined using the HoekBrown empirical Three types of dam were considered, roller com-
strength criterion. The rock mass qualities and pacted concrete dam, concrete gravity dam and earth
dam. Based on geological conditions, lower costs and
lower construction risks, the earth dam with a clay
M. Ghafoori (&)  G. R. Lashkaripour  S. Tarigh Azali core option was found to be the best solution (Fig. 2).
Department of Geology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad,
Mashhad, Iran
The dam will store water for domestic and irrigation
e-mail: purposes for developing agricultural land for the

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Fig. 1 Location map of the Daroongar dam site

Darreh-Gaz area, which is located about 35 km that the water pressure test can induce modifications
northeast of dam site. in the joints characteristics (Shibata et al. 1981;
The bedrock inherently has weakness planes such Kutzner 1996; Foyo and Sanchez 2002). The rock
as faults, beddings, joints, and fractures, which are mass quality of the test section obtained from water
the major factors that affect the engineering proper- pressure test completed with the degree of jointing of
ties of rock foundations such as permeability, shear the drill core acts as a useful reference for ground
strength, and deformation. This study describes an treatment design (Foyo et al. 2005). The underlying
engineering geological assessment of the dam foun- foundation with unknown discontinuities needs to be
dation and focuses on the geotechnical behavior of improved to raise its engineering properties and
the rock masses that affect the stability of dam ensure a watertight reservoir. Using cement grouting
abutments and the ability to control seepage that may to improve bedrock has been quite common (Verfel
occur through the fractured rock masses. Geological 1989; Deere1982; Houlsby 1992), and there are
and geomechanical surveys and various laboratory numerous examples of its application to the engi-
and in situ tests were carried out to evaluate the neering of dam foundation improvement (Ewert
characteristics of the rock masses and intact rocks at 1985; Weaver 1991; Warner 2004).
the dam site and reservoir area. Detailed discontinuity surveying was also per-
Water pressure test is the most common and formed to provide the basic parameters for classifi-
appropriate method in order to determine rock mass cation of the rock masses. The Bieniawski rock mass
permeability due to the presence of weak planes. The rating (RMR) and Barton (Q) classification system
results of rock mass permeability test are strongly have been used to provide tools for the designer
related to the geometric characteristics and weath- during construction. In this study, rock masses of the
ering degree of the water paths (Ewert 1997; left and right banks were classified according to the
Karaguzel and Kilic 2000). The results of the water RMR method and Geological Strength System (GSI).
pressure tests can be used to delimit the zones of the In addition the most widespread empirical strength
dam foundation that show different rock mass quality criterion that proposed by Hoek and Brown (1980)
(Foyo et al. 2005). At present, it is broadly accepted was used to obtain the rock mass strength parameters.

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Fig. 2 The dam under construction, a a profile of the dam that showing construction progress, b a photo of the dam under

2 Site Geology Daroongar dam and its reservoir are located in a

part of the Kopet-Dogh mountain physiographic
This study focuses on the geomechanical and hyro- province termed the Kopet-Dogh basin. The Kopet-
geological problems based on the local geological Dogh formed as an intercontinental basin in NE Iran
model of the dam site and reservoir area. The regional and SW Turkmenistan (Berberian and King 1981;
and local engineering geology have played a major role Alavi et al. 1997), and contains more than 6,000 m of
in the planning, design, construction and preference of Mesozoic and Cenozoic marine and fluvial sedimen-
the dam in Kopet-Dagh basin (Lashkaripour and tary rocks (Afshar-Harb 1994). The general stratig-
Ghafoori 2002). raphy of the Kopet-Dogh comprises 15 formations

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Fig. 3 General stratigraphy

of the Kopet-Dogh basin

from mid Jurassic to Oligocene age is shown in composed of conglomerate with an interlayer of
Fig. 3. claystone and red sandstone, dating to the Plio-
The valley walls at the dam site are moderately cenePleistocene, covers a large area above the
steep, with slopes of 4050 in the left abutment and reservoir level. The conglomerate is limy, cemented
2535 in the right abutment. Bedrocks exposed near and consists of rounded coarse pieces of limestone.
the dam axis and reservoir consists of a sequence of This unit unconformably overlies the oldest forma-
Cretaceous to Tertiary aged marine and fluvial tion. It is exposed on both the right and the left
sedimentary rocks (Fig. 4). A generalized geological banks of the dam site with a thickness of about
map of the dam site and reservoir area, exhibiting 2025 m. The Abderaz formation of Upper Creta-
geological units, location of boreholes, dam and ceous age consists of grey shale, limey marl and
diversion tunnel axis, is presented in Fig. 5. On this white chalky limestone. This formation exposes in
map, the outcrops of the geological bedrock units and a large part of the right abutment, in the riverbed
the various types of surficial deposits are shown. The and considerable areas of the reservoir of the dam.
dam site is situated in an area underlain by the Thin layers of the Abderaz formation are usually
following stratigraphic formations: overlaid by alluvium at the dam site. The dips and
dip directions of these layers in the right banks and
Quaternary deposits (Q)
the reservoir are 8085/180215 (dip/dip direc-
Plio-Pleistocene Conglomerate (PLQ)
tion). The Atamir formation of early Upper Creta-
Abderaz formation (Kad)
ceous age consists of sandy limestone layers. This
Atamir formation (Kat)
formation exposes in a large part of the left
Quaternary deposits are mainly composed of abutment. The dips and dip directions of these
alluvium, terrace, slopewash and colluvial materi- layers in the left and right banks are 8085/
als. The Plio-Pleistocene Conglomerate unit is 200204 (dip/dip direction).

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Fig. 4 A photo of dam site with a view of left bank

3 Site Investigation (ISRM 1978) at dam site in order to provide basic

parameters for classification of the rock mass and to
The site investigations took place in two stages. The determine engineering characteristics of the rock
preliminary feasibility study of the dam site ended in mass.
2002. The second stage began from 2003 and ended A total of 259 structural discontinuities, 98 joints
in 2005 and the construction stage began from 2006 on the right bank and 161 on the left bank, have been
(Fig. 2). Twenty five boreholes with total depth of measured. Once the geological data have been
980 m were drilled on the dam site in conjunction collected, computer processing of this data can be
with packer tests in two stages (Toos Ab Engineering of great assistance in plotting the information and in
Company 2005). The depth of these boreholes varied the interpretation of statistically significant trends.
from 16 to 70 m. Engineering geological investiga- The discontinuity data were interpreted statistically to
tions and geotechnical studies of dam site carried out define the rock-mass conditions of the dam site and
in detail include discontinuity surveying, core drilled reservoir area. The basic orientation data were
data and in situ testing. A geotechnical cross section analyzed using a computer program based on equal-
was constructed based on the exploratory boreholes area stereographic projection (DIPS 2.2) (Diederichs
drilled along the dam axis during the site investiga- and Hoek 1989). The stereographic projection can
tion. Figure 6 shows the rock units and fault system give an overall view of the number of dominant
across the dam axis. discontinuity sets of the joint systems and bedding
directions within the rock mass. Figure 7a and b
3.1 Discontinuity Surveying illustrates a plot of contoured pole concentrations and
corresponding great circles. Three representative
The discontinuity data were interpreted statistically joints sets are identified in the three main formations
to define the rock-mass conditions of the dam site on the right bank (Fig. 7a): J1:78/291; J2:85/203;
and reservoir area. The discontinuity surveying J3:31/296. Three dominant discontinuity sets are also
was undertaken according to the suggested method determined on the left bank (Fig. 7b): J1:83/112;
of the International Society of Rock Mechanics J2:85/20; J3:33/301.

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Fig. 5 Engineering
geological map of the dam

The quantitative descriptions and statistical distri- located within the dam foundation have been studied
butions of discontinuities of rock units derived from in detail (Fig. 5). The details of the drill holes
boreholes and those obtained from the geomechanical examined are given in Table 2. The higher rock
mapping through scan lines at the dam site according quality obtained from boreholes can be related to the
to ISRM (1981) are summarized in Table 1. relatively good rock masses and the lower rock
quality can be related entirely to the presence of weak
3.2 Drilling rocks such as shale and marls. During core drilling,
permeability tests were performed and the perme-
At the dam site a total of 25 boreholes with total ability of the rock masses is expressed in terms of
depth of 980 m were drilled to assess the condition of Lugeon values. The degree of jointing and the water-
the dam foundations and to obtain rock samples for absorbed quantity should be in a direct relation but
laboratory testing. However, only 17 drill holes, the RQD index is not an adequate reference to test

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Fig. 6 Geological cross-section of dam axis

section behaviour because it can not evaluate the joint construction is concerned, safety must be the primary
continuity and presence of filling materials. After concern, this coming before cost. Safety requires that
analysing the data obtained from drill holes, the the foundations and abutments be adequate for the
following results are made: type of dam selected. Of the various natural factors
The drill holes in the river bed area were proved to that directly influence the design of dams, none is
have a maximum depth of fluvial fill material of more important than the geological, not only do they
48.50 m (BH-6). The maximum depth of the Qua- control the character of the foundation but they also
ternary alluvium in the river valley under the dam govern the materials available for construction. The
axis is 43.30 m (BH-2). major questions that need answering include
The drill holes on the right aboutment encountered the depth at which adequate foundations exist, the
Plio-Pleistocene Conglomerate (PLQ), shale, limey strengths of the rock masses involved, the likelihood
marl and chalky limestone of Abderaz formation of water loss and any special features that have a
(Kad). The majority of these rock units covered with bearing on excavation (Bell 2007).
colluvium materials ranges from 1 to 15 m thickness. As shown in Fig. 6, the dam site is quite wide
The drill holes on the left aboutment encountered valley. Therefore, this site is more favorable to the
sandy limestone layers of Atamir formation (Kat). design of an earthfill dam. According to the borehole
This formation exposes in a large part of the left results (Table 2), sound bedrock is not reasonably
abutment. close to the surface and quaternary alluvium at the
dam site has a thickness of about 43 m (depth of the
3.3 Selection of the Type of Dam alluvium approximately near the dam height) and
overlies the Cretaceous grey shale and limey marl
The type and size of dam constructed depends on the basement (Kad rock units). The quaternary alluvium
need for and the amount of water available, the is mostly composed clay soils (thickness of about
topography and geology of the site, and the con- 30 m) with clayey gravel. Furthermore, the surround-
struction materials that are readily obtainable. The ing rock mass of the foundation and right abutment is
final choice of type of dam is made after consider- composed by grey shale and limey marl basement
ation of these factors (Emiroglu 2008). As far as dam (Kad rock units) and conglomerate (PLQ rock unit).

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Fig. 7 Dominant joint sets:

a right bank, b left bank

Because, PLQ rock unit has the low deformation determine the permeability of the each section of rock
modulus and rock strength parameters, this site is masses of the dam foundation and its abutments,
unfavorable to the design of a concrete dam. which allows for the determination of different zones
Therefore, on the basis of topographic, geological that require a seperate treatment.
and geotechnical conditions, the earthfill dam option A total of 184 permeability tests or water pressure
was found to be the best solution. tests were carried out during the two stages of studies
(93 tests in the Quaternary alluvium, named constant
3.4 Permeability and falling-head permeability tests, and 91 tests in the
rock masses, named Lugeon tests). Constant and
During core drilling, the packer permeability tests falling-head permeability tests were performed in
were carried out in the Daroongar dam foundation boreholes to determine the permeability of the allu-
directly in the vertical borehols at descending vium. According to the test results, alluvium is
sequence. The main objective of these tests was to medium permeable (k = 5 9 10-4 cm/s) so it is

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Table 1 Quantitative descriptions and statistical distributions of discontinuities of rock units

Range Description Distribution (%)
Right bank Left bank
PLQ Kad Kat Kat

Spacing (cm) \2 Extremely close 100 33 13 22

26 Very close 13 57 61
620 Close 30 8 7
2060 Moderate 23 14 10
Persistence (m) 13 Low 22 4
310 Medium 42 9
1020 High 8 16 6
[20 Very high 100 28 84 81
Aperture (mm) 0.250.5 Partly open
0.52.5 Open 15
2.510 Moderately wide 100 85 100 100
Infilling Gouge 75 6 20
Oxide 17
Calcite 8 60 60 52
Clay and loam 35 20 12
Clean 5 14 16
Roughness (JRC) 46
68 8 3
810 5 7 8
1012 87 23 26 7
1214 77 64 85

proposed to cut-off and remove or treatment the Lugeon scale (03 Lugeon impervious, 310 Lugeon
alluvium before construction of dam. Because the dam low permeability, 1030 Lugeon medium permeabil-
foundation consists of a relatively thick deposit of ity, 3060 Lugeon high permeability, and [60
pervious alluvium (43 m), seepage control is neces- Lugeon very high permeability). The average Lugeon
sary to prevent excessive uplift pressures, instability values of the three main formations are summarized
of the downstream slope, piping through the founda- and presented in Table 3. Table 3 shows that perme-
tion, and erosion of material by migration into open ability in the rock units of the dam foundation and left
joints in the foundation and abutments. Generally, the bank are medium to high. The results of these tests
slurry excavation method is suggested for cutoff indicated that the permeability of the conglomerate
trenches to create a barrier to seepage (Fig. 2a). unit (PLQ) formation and Atamir formation (Kat),
From the results of each of the water pressure tests, which form the bedrock of the dam site, range
the pressure-flow relationship was plotted and the between 0.5 and [100 Lugeons. The high Lugeon
lugeon value was calculated. The results of perme- values especially in BH-22 and BH-8A boreholes in
ability tests on rock units are shown in Table 2. left abutment are because of the shear zone and
Table 2 shows the geotechnical parameters such as highly jointed rock masses. This high permeability is
RQD (rock quality designation) and the Lugeon test one of main geological engineering problems of the
results, for both sides of the valley, the right and left Daroongar dam.
abutments, and riverbed boreholes. As this table The Lugeon values, determined from the Lugeon
shows, permeability in rock units is measured in the tests, indirectly expressed the status of the

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Table 2 Geotechnical parameters of the right abutment (R), the left abutment (L) and the riverbed (RB) boreholes
Borehole number Borehole depth (m) RQD (%) Permeability (Lugeon)
Total Quaternary deposit Rock Min Max Average Min Max Average

BH-3R 50.20 03.60 46.60 0 100 85.5 0.4 50 12

BH-4R 29.50 03.70 25.80 0 91 44.5 11 [100 [100
BH-15R 33.02 23.85 09.17 0 100 73 \1 4 2
BH-16R 33.10 01.70 31.40 0 84 23.5 5.6 66 29
BH-17R 33.50 14.50 18.70 72 98 92 1 55 4
BH-5L 59.80 59.80 0 100 78 1 [100 33
BH-8AL 16.00 16.00 0 20 5 61 [100 [100
BH-8BL 71.07 71.07 0 100 79 1 7 3
BH-22L 70.15 70.15 0 100 66 69 [100 [100
BH-1RB 50.05 39.95 10.1 0 96 76 10 46 28
BH-2RB 53.90 43.30 10.6 27 100 92 0.4 0.5 0.47
BH-6RB 59.10 48.50 10.6 49 91 62 35 40 38
BH-7RB 50.50 40.30 10.2 55 97 90 50 61 58
BH-18RB 45.00 32.25 12.75 48 100 87 35 48 40
BH-19RB 50.55 18.63 31.92 61 100 87 1 43 18
BH-20RB 48.25 40.27 7.98 50 100 98 35 40 36
BH-21RB 50.55 31.00 19.55 0 93 6 3 46 29

Table 3 Results of the permeability tests geology of the dam foundation has a significant
Location Rock Average Average Average
influence on the permeability and groutability char-
unit minimum maximum (Lugeon) acteristics. The correlation between permeability and
(Lugeon) (Lugeon) depth for the rock units in the dam site shows a
reduction in permeability with increasing depth. In
Right bank PLQ 5.6 [100 79
addition, analysis of drilling data shows that perme-
Kad 0.4 55 10
ability rises in low quality rock masses.
Riverbed Kad 0.4 58 25
After dam site investigation and considering the
Kat 1 46 30
relevant factors such as the permeability of sur-
Left bank Kat 0.5 [100 38
rounding rock units in left abutment (Kat) are
medium to high and furthermore in BH-22 and BH-
8A boreholes (in left abutment) are observed the
discontinuities in the dam foundation. The water shear zone and highly jointed rock masses with high
pressure test indicated the necessity of providing a Lugeon values, therefore a grout curtain 5060 m
grout curtain below the dam foundation. The results deep was proposed at two rows in left bank. As
of water pressure tests and the degree of jointing also shown in Fig. 6, the right bank is composed of the
employed as a first aid to design the water to cement conglomerate PLQ unit (thickness of about
ratio and the injection pressure in the grouting 1015 m) with high Lugeon values and grey shale
process for foundation treatment. The Daroongar and limey marl basement (Kad rock units) with low
dam foundation consists of different rock layers that Lugeon values. Therefore, considering the relevant
have more hidden discontinuities. Shallow bedrock factors such as permeability, discontinuities, and
especially in the left abutment tends to have a high lithological properties of the rock foundation, it was
density of cracks or openings and will be subjected to proposed that a grout curtain 30 m deep at one row
grout leakage and hole collapse It was found that the in right bank was needed.

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Table 4 Comparison of the rock mass quality defines by SPI and the degree of jointing of the left abutment (L)
Borehole no. Dept. SPI class SPI (l/s*m2) RQD LU Dominant flow
From To

BH-19 19.95 24.95 C 1.2341E-12 79 65.8 T

24.5 29.5 C 3.1524E-13 98 21.8 D
29.65 34.65 C 3.7406E-13 98 20.95 T
34.15 39.15 C 7.038E-13 99 43.45 T
38.75 43.75 A 2.0807E-14 99 0.93 D
43.3 48.3 A 1.1442E-14 98 0.61 D
BH-22 16.55 21.55 C 1.43E-12 74 65 L
25.75 30.75 C 4.29E-13 67 17.5 L
45 50 C 8.74E-13 52 31.1 W
50.05 55 C 4.03E-13 70 18.52 L
55 60 C 3.80E-13 68 17.1 W
60 65 B 9.21E-14 84 4.4 W
65.15 70.15 C 4.75E-13 65 23.7 W
GL-2 8 13 C 8.50E-13 65 60.2 W
13 18 C 3.32E-13 65 14.56 T
18 23 C 9.0037E-13 41.11 T
28.3 33 A 4.51E-15 98 0.21 L
33 38.2 A 1.57E-14 75 0.9 W
43.8 49.2 A 2.16E-14 85 0.92 D
48 53 B 9.29E-14 60 4.3 L
55.6 61.35 A 1.66E-14 75 0.79 W
61.35 65.45 A 8.81E-15 78 0.32 V
T turbulent, L laminar, V void filling, W wash out, D dilation

The contact injections were suggested at two Index method (SPI). The Secondary Permeability
rows along both sides of the grout curtain. The grout Index (SPI) usually, expressed from the conversion of
curtain must be carried out by split spacing, and the the take of water pressure test into a permeability
injection at holes with good quality will be carried coefficient analogous to porous mass (Foyo et al.
out in stages using down-up method, at 5 m sections 2005). Usually, the grouting of the dam foundation
and in the holes with poor quality (shear zone in left requires that the rock mass be previously divided in
bank) will be carried out in stages using up-down zones with different ground treatment. The Second-
method at 15 m sections. The ratio of cement to ary Permeability Index (SPI), based on water flow
water supposes to be 1:3 at the beginning of the trough fissures, allows zoning the dam foundation
injection process. In order to build up the stability of regarding different quality classes. The importance of
the suspension, 5% bentonite suggested to be added. the SPI method is possibility of distinguishing
difference between dilation and hydraulic fracturing.
3.5 Secondary Permeability Index The dilation is occurred at elastic manner, but the
hydraulic fracturing is occurred at plastic manner.
To describe and estimate the permeability of jointed The rock mass classification defined by SPI and the
rock, the result of water pressure test should be depth of the test has been investigated. As an example
transferred to k-value instead of lugeon value. Much comparison of the rock mass quality defines by SPI
more effort had been done to find correlation between and the degree of jointing for three boreholes in left
the result of water pressure test and k-value. This aboutment reveal the following aspect (Table 4;
problem was solved by using Secondary Permeability Fig. 8):

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Fig. 8 Comparison 1.00E-11 100

between degree of jointing SPI 90
(RQD) and rock mass RQD
classification obtained from 80
SPI (SPI with logarithmic 70
scale) CLASS C

1.00E-13 50

BH-22 BH-19 GL-2
1.00E-15 0


50 5

65 0

29 5
34 5





61 6











Less than 40% of tests (10 test from 22 in Fig. 8) rock units. Density, uniaxial compressive strength
show an accurate correlation which indicates the (UCS), deformability and triaxial tests were con-
important differences between rock mass quality ducted according to ISRM (1981) standards. The
definition from SPI and degree of jointing as defined deformability parameters, Poissons ratio (t) and
using RQD index. In BH 19, BH 22 and GL 2 in left modulus of elasticity (E) were obtained from triaxial
aboutment, the SPI shows a very low rock mass test. The test results are shown in Table 5.
quality for the surface area at depth of less than 30 m. The standard method of assessing the strength of a
The SPI also shows class C and the degree of jointing geomaterial is to recover representative core samples
is high. Regarding to deep zone (depth [ 30 m), still (length of core in pieces [ 100 mm) and to test them
more or less C classes in some boreholes exist. In in the laboratory. However, in the case of the
borehole Number 22 in left aboutment of the conglomerate unit (PLQ), it was not always possible
dam(depth [ 30 m) in spite of class B that appear, to recover core samples that were large enough to
the dominant classes are C yet. In BH 19 and Gl-2 an represent the rock mass.
improvement of the rock mass quality is confirmed.
This interval has been considered long enough to
ensure that the rock mass quality in some parts of the 4 Rock Mass Classifications
dam site is not too increasing. It is possible that
discontinuities of high permeable activity may exist. Three empirical rock mass classification systems,
namely the rock mass rating (RMR) (Bieniawski
3.6 Laboratory Studies 1989), Q-system (Barton et al. 1974) and Geological
Strength Index (GSI) (Hoek 1994; Hoek and Brown
Laboratory studies were performed on core speci- 1997) methods have been used to summarise the
mens obtained from the boreholes, in order to geological and geotechnical data, and to provide tools
determine physical and mechanical properties of the for the designer during construction. These rock mass

Table 5 Summary of the

Parameters Kad rock unit Kat rock unit
laboratory testing results on
different rock units Min. Max. Average Min. Max. Average
Unit weight (KN/m ) 24.1 2.62 25.7 24.9 25.6 25.1
Uniaxial compressive strength, UCS (MPa) 20.2 54.9 33.3 34.4 61.4 46.3
Modulus of elasticity, E (GPa) 5.42 9.43 7.00 10.0 12.9 11.03
Poissons ratio (t) 0.26 0.34 0.3
Internal friction angle (u) 37.4 62.9 54.7 44.8 62.9 53.8
Cohesion (Mpa) 1.3 8.3 7.3 3 8.3 5.6

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Fig. 9 Rock mass

classification of the dam site
based on GSI system

classification systems were used for the left and right empirical rock mass classification systems, which is
banks. dependent on the joint characteristics. The results
show, Kat formation on the both the right and left
4.1 Results of Rock Mass Classification Systems bank are classified as fair rock mass (RMR = 50), as
at the Dam Site well as the Kad unit at right bank and riverbed is
classified as fair rock (RMR = 55).
The rock mass qualities of two formations (Kat and The Geological Strength Index (GSI) provides a
Kad) of the dam site were assessed using three system for estimating the reduction in rock mass

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strength for different geological conditions as iden- piping through the foundation, and erosion of mate-
tified by field observations (Hoek et al. 1998). This rial by migration into open joints in the foundation
system was developed by Cai et al. (2004). For this and abutments. Generally, the slurry excavation
study, the GSI system was used to classify the rock method is suggested for cutoff trenches to create a
masses of both banks. The results are shown in barrier to seepage.
Fig. 9. The Daroongar dam foundation consists of
According to the Geological Strength Index the different rock layers that have more hidden discon-
Kat unit (sandy limestone) is classified as blocky to tinuities. Shallow bedrock especially in the left
very blocky (GSI = 4253). The Kad unit (marly abutment tends to have a high density of cracks or
limestone) is classified as blocky to very blocky openings and will be subjected to grout leakage and
(GSI = 4555). The PLQ unit (conglomerate) is hole collapse. The water pressure test indicated the
classified as blocky/disturbed (GSI = 2535) necessity of providing a grout curtain below the dam
(Fig. 9). foundation. The results of water pressure tests and
the degree of jointing also employed as a first aid to
design the water to cement ratio and the injection
5 Estimation of Rock Mass Strength Parameters
pressure in the grouting process for foundation
The rock masses as the foundation of dam are
Based on the estimated GSI values and intact rock
sedimentary rocks. The rock mass constants, uniaxial
strength properties at Daroongar dam site, equivalent
compression strength was calculated by using Hoek
MohrCoulomb strength parameters and elastic mod-
et al. equation (Hoek et al. 2002) and the in situ
ulus of the jointed rock mass were calculated.
deformation modulus of each rock units evaluated by
Hoek and Diederichs equation (Hoek and Diederichs Acknowledgments The authors express their sincere thanks
2006). The results show that the deformation mod- to the Water Organization of Khorasan Razavi Province and to
ulus ranges from 4.33 for Kat at left bank to 9.07 GPa the staff of Toos-Ab Engineering Company, Mashhad Office,
for access to the data of the dam.
for Kad at right bank and the uniaxial compressive
strength ranges from 1.5 for Kat formation to
3.7 MPa for Kad formation at dam site.

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6 Conclusions
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