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Pierpaolo Oreste and Silvia Soldano


The problem of the stability of “ravanetos” (debris piles of mining waste material extracted from the Apuan Alps, Italy) is very relevant, because of the consequences a landslide would have on the people and the existing civil infrastructures throughout the territory.

In this work, the stability of two ravanetos that can be considered as representative of those in the Carrara area has been studied: the Polvaccio ravaneto, a recent type of debris pile and the Torrione-Tecchione, an old debris pile at present undergoing re-naturalisation.

The study using the LEM (Limit Equilibrium Method) in a static and pseudo-static field, has made it possible to first carry out a back-analysis to define the most probable apparent cohesion and friction angle values of the material that makes up the ravanetos. Subsequently, it was possible to determine the intensity of the seismic wave that would be able to lead the two ravanetos to limit stability conditions and to determine the probability of such a seismic wave occurring in the next 50 years.

A more accurate analysis, carried out with a numerical method in the dynamic field, of the most critical condition (the Polvaccio ravaneto) has led to more conservative results (higher safety factors) than those obtained with the LEM. This result allows us to reveal how the LEM can be considered a cautionary instrument to judge the stability of debris piles during a seismic event and that the likelihood of a landslide occurring in the two studied representative ravanetos over the next 50 years is very slim.

Open access

Marilena Cardu, Sergio Dipietromaria and Pierpaolo Oreste


The aim of this study was to evaluate the state of stress of a „voids-pillar“ structure excavated by means of the sub-level stoping method in an underground limestone quarry near Bergamo (Italy). Both the current structure of the quarry (i.e. the rooms exploited till now) and a possible future scenario were analysed using the (FDM) FLAC 2D code. The quarry has been in operation since 1927; at present, exploitation is carried out underground via the sub-level stoping method. Exploitation involves two levels, with 5 rooms on the upper level and 9 rooms on the lower level.

After analysing data obtained from laboratory and in situ tests carried out on rock samples and natural discontinuities, the geomechanical properties of the medium, knowledge of which is essential in order to establish the parameters that must be included in the numerical model, were evaluated.

The implementation of three numerical models made it possible to study both the present conditions of quarry exploitation and the evolution of the exploited rooms, as well as a possible expansion involving a third level of rooms. Using the results obtained regarding the stress-strain present in the pillars, a potential change in room geometry was proposed aimed at reducing the stress state inside the pillars, decreasing plasticity and increasing overall quarry safety.

Open access

Masoud Ranjbarnia, Ahmad Fahimifar and Pierpaolo Oreste


In this paper, two new analytical approaches are presented on the basis of convergence-confinement method to compute both the ultimate convergence of circular tunnel and its plastic zone having been reinforced by systematically pre-tensioned fully grouted rockbolts. The models have two basic assumptions: (1) the grouted rockbolts increase the radial internal pressure within a broken rock mass by both the pre-tensioned force and the probable following induced force due to rock mass movement (2) tunnel convergence (specially short-term) occurs only due to reducing and diminishing of the radial constrained stress on tunnel surface provided by the working face. Hence, the values of both the pre-tensioned pressure and the mentioned radial constrained stress are specially taken into consideration in this paper. That is, according to their magnitudes, two different conditions occur: the magnitude of pre-tensioned pressure is greater than that of the constrained stress at bolt installation time and vice versa. The solutions are extended to each of conditions, and illustrative examples are solved. The proposed approaches predicting almost identical results show that pre-tensioning of grouted rockbolts will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of rockbolts.