The Rock Quality Designation (RQD) index was introduced 20 years ago at a time when rock quality information was usually available only from geologists' descriptions and the percent of core recovery. The RQD is a modified core recovery percentage in which unrecovered core, fragments and small pieces of rock, and altered rock are not counted so as to downgrade the quality designation of rock containing these features. Although originally developed for predicting tunneling conditions and support requirements, its application was extended to correlation with in situ rock mechanical properties and, in the 1970s, to forming a basic element of several classification systems. Its greatest value, however, remains as an exploratory tool where it serves as a red flag to identify low-RQD zones which deserve greater scrutiny and which may require additional borings or other exploratory work. Case history experience shows that the RQD red flag and subsequent investigations often have resulted in the deepening of foundation levels and the reorientation or complete relocation of proposed engineering structures, including dam foundations, tunnel portals, underground caverns, and power facilities.
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