UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Back-Analysis of Structurally Controlled Failure in an Open-Pit Mine with Machine Learning Tools McQuillan, Alison; Mitelman, Amichai; Elmo, Davide


Over the past decades, numerical modelling has become a powerful tool for rock mechanics applications. However, the accurate estimation of rock mass input parameters remains a significant challenge. Machine learning (ML) tools have recently been integrated to enhance and accelerate numerical modelling processes. In this paper, we demonstrate the novel use of ML tools for calibrating a state-of-the-art three-dimensional (3D) finite-element (FE) model of a kinematic structurally controlled failure event in an open-pit mine. The failure event involves the detachment of a large wedge, thus allowing for the accurate identification of the geometry of the rock joints. FE models are automatically generated according to estimated ranges of joint input parameters. Subsequently, ML tools are used to analyze the synthetic data and calibrate the strength parameters of the rock joints. Our findings reveal that a relatively small number of models are needed for this purpose, rendering ML a highly useful tool even for computationally demanding FE models.

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