Utilization of weathered rock mass as the China Three Gorges
Project Dam foundation
Received: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017
Ó Springer International Publishing AG 2017
Abstract The utilization of the weathered rock mass in the
Three Gorges Dam Area is one of the key geotechnical issues
for the China Three Gorges Project (CTGP) construction.
Engineering geological investigations and tests had been car-
ried out to study the physical, chemical, mineral and mechan-
ical properties and distribution characteristics in detail for more
than 30 years. The classiﬁcation of the weathered zone has been
further divided. The utilization of the lower part of the weakly
weathered zone as the Three Gorges dam foundation rock mass
had been researched by consolidation grouting test. The
research results show that: (1) the weathered crust rock mass in
China Three Gorges Dam Area has a thickness of 40–70 m,
with four different weathering state rock as ‘‘loose, half loose,
half hard and hard’’ and four different weathered zones as
‘‘complete, intense, weak and light’’. (2) It was feasible that the
lower part of the weakly weathered zone could be used as the
dam foundation after consolidation grouting treatment. (3) It
has set a rock mass quality evaluation criterion with CTGP
characteristic to access the foundation rock mass quality—
‘‘Three Gorges YZP Method’’. (4) The CTGP practice shows
that it is successful for the utilization of the lower part of the
weakly weathered rock mass as the dam foundation, saving a
large amount of construction investment and shortening a cer-
tain amount of construction time for the CTGP.
Keywords Weathered rock mass Á Rock mass quality Á
Dam foundation Á China Three Gorges Project
The engineering utilization of weathered rock mass at crys-
talline rock engineering area is related to quality, duration and
cost of a project. Therefore, it has always been a key geotech-
nical issue focused by academic and engineering [1–4].
The bedrock of the China Three Gorges Project dam site
(Fig. 1) is granite with crystalline texture, massive structure
and the thickness of weathered crust more than 40 m. Inﬂu-
enced by the topography, geomorphology and geological
structure, the properties of weathered crust varies greatly .
However, it shows that the weathering intensity gradually
weakens from the mountain top to bottom, and it is divided
into four zones such as completely weathered zone, intensely
weathered zone, weakly weathered zone and slightly weath-
ered zone. Thus, the selection of the dam foundation rockmass
and the utilization of the weathered crust are the important
engineering geological issues for the CTGP and have great
meaning both economically and technically .
The CTGP construction practice shows that it is suc-
cessful for the utilization of the lower part of the weakly
weathered rock mass as the dam foundation, saving a large
amount of construction investment and shortening a certain
amount of construction time for the Three Gorges Project.
This paper summarizes the process and results of the
survey and experimental study on the engineering utiliza-
tion of the lower part of the weakly weathered rock mass as
the Three Gorges Dam foundation.
This paper was selected from GeoMEast 2017—Sustainable Civil
Infrastructures: Innovative Infrastructure Geotechnology.
& Shirong Xiao
College of Civil Engineering and Architecture, China Three
Gorges University, 8#, Daxue Road, Yichang 443002, Hubei,
Innov. Infrastruct. Solut. (2017) 2:51