The presence of man-made underground caves in soft carbonate rocks susceptible to degradation processes due to weathering nowadays induce high risk conditions in the Apulia region (Southern Italy) which is characterised by a huge number of caves spread in the territory. In recent years, several collapses affected some of these cavity systems, involving structures and roads located at the ground surface and, therefore, inducing high risk for human life and properties. In order to comply with this problem at the regional scale, Perrotti et al., 2018, have proposed specific charts aimed at assessing at a preliminary stage the stability conditions of a cave along with a safety margin with respect to the occurrence of failure. The charts have been defined upon the results of a large set of parametric two-dimensional finite-element analyses of ideal cases of underground cavities that account for the typical geometrical features of the caves and the range of mechanical properties of these rocks. The relationships obtained in terms of plots representing the ratio between the strength mobilized at failure and the vertical stress at the cavity roof against the ratio between cave width and roof thickness identify mechanically-based threshold envelopes for stability. In this paper, applications of the stability charts to case studies of man-made underground caves of soft carbonate rocks, either subjected to failure in the past or still stable, are discussed. In the first case the applications proposed show the role of specific structural elements, as pillars and walls, on the general stability of the examined quarry system, while in the second case an indication on the safety factor of the cave with respect to instability has been derived. Therefore, the proposed stability charts have been verified to provide a reliable method to assess in a preliminary way the stability of underground cavities in soft carbonate rocks, so that, for those situations where the safety margin results to be low, more detailed and sophisticated numerical models need to be developed.
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|Titolo:||Sinkhole susceptibility assessment of underground caves in soft rocks by means of FEM-based charts.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.1 Contributo in Atti di convegno|