The influence of the occurrence of weaker strata in a layered, jointed, model rock mass was examined. The model materials used were lightweight concrete and gypsum mortars. The models were constructed from blocks of these materials in a plane frame testing rig. The load/settlement characteristics, bearing capacity, pattern of deformation and modes of failure under a steel plate were observed, and the experimental results were then compared with those predicted by finite element analyses. No obvious correlation of results between the mathematical models and the laboratory models was discovered.

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