Lessons learned from dike failures in recent decades

Cor Zwanenburg, Norma Patricia López-Acosta, Rémy Tourment, Alessandro Tarantino, Annarita Pozzato, Alexandre Pinto

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The paper describes five different dike failures that occurred in recent decades. The case histories were located on different rivers and involved different loading conditions. The observed failure mechanisms involved erosion and stability problems. The types of erosion observed were both internal erosion due to extreme groundwater flow and external erosion caused by the river flow and wave action. The case involving instability was caused by uplift, i.e., increased hydraulic head led to a sharp reduction in maximum shear strength between subsoil layers. Two cases demonstrate the importance of dike management and maintenance. Despite the variations in the loading conditions and failure mechanisms, all the cases show that the strength of a dike depends not only on the material used to build the dike but also on the strength of the subsoil.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-229
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Geoengineering Case Histories
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018


  • dikes
  • failure
  • erosion
  • stability
  • uplift


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