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3D Block Stability Risk Assessment for Rock Slopes

Model 3D Geological Structures

For 3D slope geometries of benches, highway cuts, and entire open pits, model structurally controlled failure in rock slopes exhibiting jointing (faults, joints, bedding, folds, foliations). Define joints as any combination of measured joints, synthetically sampled joint sets, or discrete surfaces, defined by orientation and location.

Rocscience RocSlope
Rocscience RocFall3

Block Stability Analysis

Determine all valid blocks which could be formed by the intersection of joints. Once blocks are computed, determine each block’s stability using the limit equilibrium method to obtain a factor of safety, taking into considering weight, shear strength, water pressure, loading and supports.

Predict the locations and magnitudes of failures over the extent of the slope by creating heat maps to show locations with the lowest factors of safety, largest failure volumes and depths, and greatest support requirements.

Probabilistic Analysis

Perform probabilistic analysis to model the variability in rock unit weight, joint shear strength, and water pressure parameters and obtain location-specific probabilities of failure. Generate statistical plots like histograms, cumulative and scatter plots for any selection of blocks, and fit distributions and regression lines through the data.

Rocscience RocSlope

Features in Rocslope

Technical Specifications


  • Import .obj, .dxf, dtm and other common geometry files
  • Import geometry, properties, groundwater, and other entities from an RS3 file
  • Import geometry, properties, groundwater, and other entities from a Slide3 file
  • Import slope and joint geometry and joint properties from an SWedge file
  • Import properties from another RocSlope file
  • Import sensor data from various manufacturers
  • Import orientations and set statistics from a Dips file

Project Settings

  • Set design factor of safety as the failure threshold
  • Model successive failure from the detachment of key blocks
  • Probabilistic analysis with pseudo-random sampling for repeatable results
  • Eurocode and British Code design standards


  • Define joint orientation, location, and size from measured data
  • Define joint orientation, location, and size from synthetically-generated joint set with statistical sampling of orientation, size, and spacing along a traverse line
  • Define joints from any arbitrary surface or collection of planar surfaces
  • Define joint properties with shear strength, waviness, and water pressure parameters
  • Show trace lines for daylighting joints along the the slope surface

Shear Strength

  • Mohr-Coulomb
  • Barton-Bandis
  • Hoek-Brown
  • Generalize Hoek-Brown
  • Power Curve
  • Override shear strength by material

Water Pressure

  • Water surfaces from arbitrary surface, points, or boreholes
  • Water pressure grids
  • Ru coefficient
  • Constant water pressure


  • Define multiple geology volumes
  • Define material properties with unit weight, and groundwater parameters
  • 3D geometry tools to build, modify, and cleanup geometry pieces


  • Compute blocks which can be formed by the intersection of joints
  • Compute kinematics using limit equilibrium method to obtain driving and resisting forces and the resulting factor of safety for each block
  • Add search limits for inclusion and exclusion volumes in computation

Analysis Results

  • Advanced report generation
  • Listing of all block information
  • Detailed block information
  • Block contour of factor of safety, weight, volume, required support pressure, failure depth, and probability of failure


  • Point, line, or distributed loads
  • Seismic loads
  • Water pressure inside joints


  • Active or passive rock bolts
  • Active or passive support pressure
  • Shotcrete

Probabilistic Analysis

  • Statistical distributions: normal, uniform, triangular, beta, exponential, lognormal, gamma
  • Plot histogram, cumulative, and scatter plots of input random variables or computed values
  • Probability of failure, and other critical values
  • Monte-Carlo or Latin-Hypercube simulation methods
  • Best fit distribution, regression line
  • Model numerical parameters from material properties and joint properties as random variables

Viewing Options

    • Advanced filtering using conditional expressions to query block information
    • Color blocks by material property color, joint property color, random color, or contour color
    • Results toggle showing all valid blocks, removable blocks or failed blocks subsets
    • Translate block(s) in the block’s sliding direction
    • Create a cropped slope cut around selected block(s)

RocSlope across Applications

Assess and locate large and small-scale failures across the benches of an open pit as part of optimal pit design, safety planning and risk mitigation during the design and operational stages.


Geological hazard assessment of the stability of rock slopes adjacent to or overlying civil infrastructure such as roads, highways, railways, and bridges. Apply slope stabilization measures by modeling the effects of rock reinforcements and drainage.

Explore the latest features in RocSlope

Display a listing of all block results including information about geometric removability, factor of safety, weight, volume, driving and resisting forces, sliding direction, failure mode, required support pressure, and failure depth. You can filter and export this information as a CSV file.


Focus on critical regions of your model by adding volumetric limits as any combination of inclusion and/or exclusion zones for the computation of blocks along portions of the slope.

Identify key blocks which control potential large-scale failures of the slope and simulate the successive unraveling of the slope as key blocks fail and are detached.

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