Geotechnical-Geological studies and tunnel support design at Rudbar-Lorestan dam site, Iran

Document Type : Original Research


Department of Mining And Metallurgical, AmirKabir University of Technology. Tehran, Iran


This paper presents the results of engineering geological investigations and tunnel support design studies, carried out at the Rudbar-Lorestan dam site, center of Iran. The Rudbar-Lorestan dam is to be constructed in order to convey water for hydropower purposes. Studies were carried out both in the field and the laboratory. Field studies include engineering geological mapping, intensive discontinuity surveying and sampling for laboratory testing. Based on the results of the mapping carried out, the transfer tunnel path passes through argillaceous limestone and dolomitic limestone type of soil/rock. Empirical, analytical and numerical methods were combined for safe tunnel design. Rock mass rating (RMR), Rock mass quality (Q) and Geological strength index (GSI) systems were used for empirical rock mass quality determination, site characterization and support design. The convergence-confinement method was used as analytical method and software called Phase 2 , a 2D finite element program, was utilized as numerical method. The support system, suggested by empirical methods, was applied and the performance of suggested support system was evaluated by means of numerical modelling. It was concluded that the suggested support systems were adequate, since after applying the suggested support system to weak rock masses, tunnel deformation and the yielded elements around the tunnel decreased significantly. Thus, it is suggested that for more reliable support design empirical, numerical and analytical methods should be combined.