Structurally controlled rock slope deformation in northern Norway
AuthorVick, Louise Mary; Böhme, Martina; Rouyet, Line; Bergh, Steffen G; Corner, Geoffrey D.; Lauknes, Tom Rune
Gravitational forcing of oversteepened rock mass leads to progressive failure, including rupture, creeping, sliding and eventual avalanching of the unstable mass. As the point of rupture initiation typically follows pre-existing structural discontinuities within the rock mass, understanding the structural setting of slopes is necessary for an accurate characterisation of the hazards and estimation of the risk to life and infrastructure. Northern Norway is an alpine region with a high frequency of large rock slope deformations. Inherited structures in the metamorphic bedrock create a recurring pattern of anisotropy, that, given certain valley orientations, causes mass instability. We review the geomorphology, structural mechanics and kinematics of nine deforming rock slopes in Troms County, with the aim of linking styles of deformation. The limits of the unstable rock mass follow either foliation planes, joint planes or inherited faults, depending on the valley aspect, slope angle, foliation dip and proximity to fault structures. We present an updated geotechnical model of the different failure mechanisms, based on the interpretations at each site of the review.