Once fracture traces and planes have been digitized, they are separated in fracture sets on the stereonet and they are assigned different colors to refer to different fracture sets.
It is thus possible to identify and measure a sufficient number of fractures (e.g., in accordance with the ISRM (1978). "Suggested methods for the quantitative description of discontinuities in rock masses". Int. Journal Rock Mechanics, Mining Sciences & Geomechanical Abstr. 15: 319–368) even in cases in which the slope is inaccessible, too dangerous to access, or when moving about the slope may cause unintentional small rock falls that may be dangerous to people, motorists or equipment located below.
Here is an example of a rock face located 1.8 to 2.5 km (1.1 to 1.5 mi) from the camera stations. The objective was to determine not only the fracture sets, but also the size of the rock blocks on the rock face; indeed, this study was necessary to then generate rock blocks for a rockfall simulation. In these cases, not only is it necessary to identify a sufficient number of fractures: it is necessary to digitize ALL fractures because otherwise the determination of the block size will be incorrect. This rules out the use of LiDAR because fracture traces cannot be correctly identified in LiDAR data.
When the fractures have been digitized as interpolating disks of different colors based on their fracture set as seen above, Tonon USA gains a fair amount of insight into the rock mass by rotating, zooming, panning, and examining the 3-D model textured with high resolution pictures. Likewise, fracture spacing measurements are carried out directly on the 3D model.
Although the engineering-geology field work remains necessary, this technology may complement the field work as follows:
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