During the last decade different researchers on the field of rock mechanics have stated that a series of typical average rock masses behave in a strain-softening manner. However, it is not easy to obtain all the parameters needed to study this behavior. In this paper we attempt to give some guidelines on how to reasonably characterize a more or less average quality rock mass so as to obtain all the parameters needed to correctly estimate its stress-strain behavior. The characterisation process is based on drawing together recently published approaches and our own estimates based on practical experience.

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