The understanding of fracture has tended to follow great public disasters (e.g. over 200 US ships suffered due to catastrophic failure during WW II, later several jet air-craft damaged, destroying some bridges and buildings, etc). Rock fracture mechanics dates back to early 60-s and its application to rock blast problems, collapses deep gold mines in South Africa, earthquake disasters, etc. Pure shear mode (Mode I) or mixed tension and shear mode (Mode I and II) fracturing are the most important in rock mechanics and geophysics. The goal of this paper is to summarize the existing fracture criteria and the observed crack growth firstly from single flaws, secondly from multiply (two) flaws. Analysing the fracture propagations different types of coalescence can be determined and classified. Using these modelling and analysing the observed patterns, for example we could forecast the new failures after the earthquakes or calculating the stability of rock slopes, etc.
Awaji H, Sato S 1978: J. Eng. Mat. Techn., 100, 175-172.