Long-wavelength P-wave and S-wave propagation in jointed rock masses

Minsu Cha*, Gye Chun Cho, J. Carlos Santamarina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Field data suggest that stress level and joint condition affect shear-wave propagation in jointed rock masses. However, the study of long-wavelength propagation in a jointed rock mass is challenging in the laboratory, and limited data are available under controlled test conditions. Long-wavelength P-wave and S-wave propagation normal to joints, using an axially loaded jointed column device, reproduces a range of joint conditions. The effects of the normal stress, loading history, joint spacing, matched surface topography (i.e., joint roughness), joint cementation (e.g., after grouting), joint opening, and plasticity of the joint filling on the P-wave and S-wave velocities and on S-wave attenuation are notable. The ratio VP/VS in jointed rock masses differs from that found in homogeneous continua. The concept of Poisson's ratio as a function of VP/ VS is unwarranted, and VP/VS can be interpreted in terms of jointed characteristics. Analytic models that consider stress-dependent stiffness and frictional loss in joints as well as stress-independent properties of intact rocks can model experimental observations properly and extract joint properties from rock-mass test data. Thus, joint properties and normal stress have a prevalent role in propagation velocity and attenuation in jointed rock masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E205-E214
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics


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