From theory to field evidence: observations on the evolution of the settlements of an earthfill dam, over long time scale

Stella Pytharouli, Panagiotis Michalis, Spyridon Raftopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Unprecedented flooding events put dams and downstream communities at risk, as evidenced by the recent cases of the Oroville and Whaley bridge dams. Empirical models may describe an expected 'normal' dam behaviour but they do not account for changes due to recurring extreme weather events. Numerical modelling provides insights into this but results are affected by the chosen material properties. Long-term field monitoring data can help with understanding the mechanical behaviour of earthfill dams and how this is affected by the environment over decades. We analyse the recorded settlements for one of the largest earthfill dams in Europe. We compare the evolution of these settlements to the reservoir level, rainfall and the occurrence of earthquakes for a period of 31 years after first impoundment. We find that the crest responds to the reservoir fluctuations with an increasing (from 0 to 27 6 months) time delay. This is the first time that a change in the behavior of a central clay core dam, as observed from field data, is reported in the international literature. Seepage rates, as recorded within the drainage galleries, are directly affected by cumulative rainfall depths exceeding 67mm per fortnight.
LanguageEnglish
Article number65
Number of pages26
JournalInfrastructures
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2019

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Dams
Rain
Seepage
Drainage
Time delay
Materials properties
Earthquakes
Clay
Monitoring

Keywords

  • earthfill dam
  • central clay core
  • downstream shoulder
  • settlements
  • long-term behavior
  • reservoir level fluctuations
  • rainfall
  • seepage
  • geodetic monitoring

Cite this

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title = "From theory to field evidence: observations on the evolution of the settlements of an earthfill dam, over long time scale",
abstract = "Unprecedented flooding events put dams and downstream communities at risk, as evidenced by the recent cases of the Oroville and Whaley bridge dams. Empirical models may describe an expected 'normal' dam behaviour but they do not account for changes due to recurring extreme weather events. Numerical modelling provides insights into this but results are affected by the chosen material properties. Long-term field monitoring data can help with understanding the mechanical behaviour of earthfill dams and how this is affected by the environment over decades. We analyse the recorded settlements for one of the largest earthfill dams in Europe. We compare the evolution of these settlements to the reservoir level, rainfall and the occurrence of earthquakes for a period of 31 years after first impoundment. We find that the crest responds to the reservoir fluctuations with an increasing (from 0 to 27 6 months) time delay. This is the first time that a change in the behavior of a central clay core dam, as observed from field data, is reported in the international literature. Seepage rates, as recorded within the drainage galleries, are directly affected by cumulative rainfall depths exceeding 67mm per fortnight.",
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From theory to field evidence : observations on the evolution of the settlements of an earthfill dam, over long time scale. / Pytharouli, Stella; Michalis, Panagiotis; Raftopoulos, Spyridon.

Vol. 4, No. 4, 65, 23.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - From theory to field evidence

T2 - observations on the evolution of the settlements of an earthfill dam, over long time scale

AU - Pytharouli, Stella

AU - Michalis, Panagiotis

AU - Raftopoulos, Spyridon

PY - 2019/10/23

Y1 - 2019/10/23

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AB - Unprecedented flooding events put dams and downstream communities at risk, as evidenced by the recent cases of the Oroville and Whaley bridge dams. Empirical models may describe an expected 'normal' dam behaviour but they do not account for changes due to recurring extreme weather events. Numerical modelling provides insights into this but results are affected by the chosen material properties. Long-term field monitoring data can help with understanding the mechanical behaviour of earthfill dams and how this is affected by the environment over decades. We analyse the recorded settlements for one of the largest earthfill dams in Europe. We compare the evolution of these settlements to the reservoir level, rainfall and the occurrence of earthquakes for a period of 31 years after first impoundment. We find that the crest responds to the reservoir fluctuations with an increasing (from 0 to 27 6 months) time delay. This is the first time that a change in the behavior of a central clay core dam, as observed from field data, is reported in the international literature. Seepage rates, as recorded within the drainage galleries, are directly affected by cumulative rainfall depths exceeding 67mm per fortnight.

KW - earthfill dam

KW - central clay core

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KW - rainfall

KW - seepage

KW - geodetic monitoring

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