An innovative methodological approach using infrared thermography (IRT) provides a potential contribution to the indirect assessment of hydraulic conductivity of jointed rock masses. This technique proved a suitable tool to evaluate the degree of fracturing of rock masses along with their discontinuity systems, which expedite water flow within the rock mass itself. First, based on the latest scientific outcomes on the application of IRT to the geomechanics of rock systems, rock mass surveys were carried out at different outcrops (dolostone, limestone and porphyroid) and hydraulic conductivity was empirically assessed through approaches well known in the international literature. Then, IRT campaigns were performed at each surveyed rock mass, with the purpose of evaluating the corresponding Cooling Rate Index, strictly linked to the cooling attitude of the rock. Such index was correlated with the assessed hydraulic conductivity and satisfactory regression equations were achieved. The interesting results show that hydraulic conductivity values are likely to be linked with the cooling behavior of rock masses, which, in turn, is affected by spacing, aperture and persistence of discontinuities.
Hydrogeology Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 4, 2017
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