A new model to predict the extent of crushing around a blasthole is presented. The model is based on the back-analysis of a comprehensive experimental program that included the direct measurement of the zone of crushing from 92 blasting tests on concrete blocks using two commercial explosives. The concrete blocks varied from low, medium to high strength and measured 1.5 in in length, 1.0 m in width and 1.1 m in height. A dimensionless parameter called the crushing zone index (CZI) is introduced. This index measures the crushing potential of a charged blasthole and is a function of the borehole pressure, the unconfined compressive strength of the rock material, dynamic Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio. It is shown that the radius of crushing is a function of the CZI and the blasthole radius. A good correlation between the new model and measured results was obtained. A number of previously proposed models could not approximate the conditions measured in the experimental work and there are noted discrepancies between the different approaches reviewed, particularly for smaller diameter holes and low strength rock conditions. The new model has been verified with full scale tests reported in the literature. Results from this validation and model evaluations show its applicability to production blasting. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.