Geohydromechanical Processes in the Excavation Damaged Zone in Crystalline Rock, Rock Salt, and Indurated and Plastic Clays

Frédéric Bernier, Chin-Fu Tsang, Christophe Davies, Wim Bastiaens

    Research outputpeer-review


    The creation of an excavation disturbed zone or excavation damaged zone is expected around all man-made openings in geologic formations. Macro- and micro-fracturing, and in general a redistribution of in situ stresses and rearrangement of rock structures, will occur in this zone, resulting in drastic changes of permeability to flow, mainly through the fractures and cracks induced by excavation. Such an EDZ may have significant implications for the operation and long-term performance of an underground nuclear waste repository. Various issues of concern need to be evaluated, such as processes creating fractures in the excavation damaged zone, the degree of permeability increase, and the potential for sealing or healing (with permeability reduction) in the zone. In recent years, efforts along these lines have been made for a potential repository in four rock types—crystalline rock, salt, indurated clay, and plastic clay—and these efforts have involved field, laboratory, and theoretical studies. The present work involves a synthesis of the ideas and issues that emerged from presentations and discussions on EDZ in these four rock types at a CLUSTER Conference and Workshop held in Luxembourg in November, 2003. First, definitions of excavation disturbed and excavation damaged zones are proposed. Then, an approach is suggested for the synthesis and intercomparison of geohydromechanical processes in the EDZ for the four rock types (crystalline rock, salt, indurated clay, and plastic clay). Comparison tables of relevant processes, associated factors, and modeling and testing techniques are developed. A discussion of the general state-of-the-art and outstanding issues are also presented. A substantial bibliography of relevant papers on the subject is supplied at the end of the paper..
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)109-125
    JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences
    Issue number01
    StatePublished - Jan 2005

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