On the stability of underground caves in calcareous rocks due to long-term weathering

Miguel A. Mánica (Lead / Corresponding author), Matteo Ciantia, Antonio Gens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
125 Downloads (Pure)


This paper addresses the problem of the stability of structures on calcareous rocks due to long-term weathering processes. The case study consists of a building resting on a calcarenite rock formation where two abandoned man-made caves exist directly under the structure. The boundaries of the caves were exposed to a slightly acidic environment inducing time-dependent weathering. Analyses were performed following a semi-decoupled approach, where the weathering process, driven by a reactive transport mechanism, was first solved and its results were fed to the mechanical problem which hence accounted for the spatial and temporal evolution or rock damage. For the mechanical problem, a nonlocal constitutive model was employed for the objective simulation of localised deformations. Relevant outcomes are obtained regarding the evolution of the structure’s stability and about the importance of regularising the finite element solution in the presence of brittle materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3885-3901
Number of pages17
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number9
Early online date25 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • weathering
  • calcareous rock
  • stability
  • nonlocal plasticity
  • localisation
  • Localisation
  • Stability
  • Weathering
  • Calcareous rock
  • Nonlocal plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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