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Abstract

A lithological profile and measurements of the orientation and spacings of natural discontinuity planes were carried out in the Górka-Mucharz sandstone excavation (Krosno Beds, Outer Carpathians, Poland). In addition, the density of the discontinuities was assessed by measuring their spacings using oriented digital photographs of the quarry walls. An orthophotomap was also used in assessing the orientation and density of fractures with the tools available in QGIS. It was shown that digital image analysis can be used as an alternative to direct field measurements, especially in situations where access to an outcrop is difficult. The distributions of spacings larger than 40 cm, obtained by direct measurements and based on digital images of the quarry, were comparable. As a consequence, both measurement techniques yielded similar values of the quantity of blocks (QB), which differed by less than 2% for the minimum block volume in the range 0.4-1.0 m3 and by 6-7% for larger blocks. On the other hand, measurements of discontinuity spacings that were taken on the basis of an orthophotomap can only serve to estimate the approximate maximum value of this parameter. However, the use of orthophotomaps gives a more explicit spatial pattern of the main vertical joint sets than direct measurements in the quarry. The analysis results also showed the following: (i) the presence of tectonic disturbances visible at the highest level of the deposit; (ii) higher density of set A fractures with planes deepening in the NE direction and a considerable reduction of the QB parameter, particularly in the peripheral NE and SW parts of the deposit; (iii) differences in the orientation of the discontinuity system between particular beds. The variable density of the discontinuities in the excavation is related to the presence of the faults that limit the Górka-Mucharz deposit.
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