The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Summary of Surface Blasting and Damages with Analysis of Two Mitigation Techniques – Presplit and Smooth Blasting

 3.0 - Types of Blasting

Blasting can be separated into two general categories, surface blasting and underground blasting.  Both types share the same principles, turning an unmanageable rock mass into smaller, broken pieces.  Surface blasting will be the focus and is useful for removing overlying material for mines or cutting slopes for highways.  It can also be used in obtaining the required depth for placing a foundation.   For excavation, the material only has to be fragmented to a degree easy for removal, and uniform fragments are not really required.  In comparison, production blasting in quarries must create uniform fragmentation so the material can be used as rip rap or aggregate.

Regardless of the type, blasting poses problems to the engineer.  Certain problems, like airblast, the excessive noise resulting from an explosion, or fly rock, material being thrown from a blast, are more relevant to urban environments where blast sites are surrounded by existing buildings and pedestrians.  While fly rock and airblast are a concern for any blast, the extent of damage from vibrations, gas pressures, and poor blasting are summarized for the two case studies.  In these instances, the excavation of material for a permanent high rock slope and production blasting for mining are analyzed for the extent of blasting damage. 

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