Theoretical methods for wave propagation across jointed rock masses

A. Perino, Jianbo Zhu, J. C. Li, G. Barla, J. Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Different methods are presently available for the analysis of wave propagation across jointed rock masses with the consideration of multiple wave reflections between joints. These methods can be divided into two categories. One is based on the displacement discontinuity model for representing rock joints, where the displacements across a joint are discontinuous and the tractions are continuous, and the other is the equivalent medium method. For the first category, there are three methods, i.e., method of characteristics (MC), scattering matrix method (SMM) and virtual wave source method (VWS). MC solves the equation of motion by using the theory of characteristic curves. SMM is based on the definition of the scattering matrix in which the reflection and transmission coefficients of a set of joints are stored. VWS method replaces the joints in the rock mass with a virtual concept. For the second category, equivalent medium model treats the problem in the frame of continuum mechanics and simplifies it from an explicit wave propagation equation. The objective of this paper is to review and compare these theoretical methods. The comparison shows that the four solutions agree very well with each other. Some additional considerations about the advantages and disadvantages of these methods are also given in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-809
Number of pages11
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Displacement discontinuity method
  • Equivalent medium model
  • Rock joints
  • Wave propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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