Location

Arlington, Virginia

Session Start Date

8-11-2008

Session End Date

8-16-2008

Abstract

A peat levee at Wilnis in The Netherlands suddenly failed at the end of the relatively dry summer of 2003. On Monday, 29 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. gulf coast and breached, among other failures, the 17th Street Canal. These failures triggered large research programs. In the Wilnis case, it was eventually deduced that the 5-m horizontal translation of the levee was triggered by a combination of reduced weight by evaporation, shrinkage and cracking of the peat material, and an increased head in the sand layer under the dike. A key factor in the 17th Street Canal failure was the formation of a gap between the wall and the levee fill on the canal side of the fill. Due to climate change, more extreme dry and wet periods, land subsidence, and increasing sea and river levels, the horizontal shifting due to cracking is becoming more significant in the safety assessments of levees. In this paper, aspects of horizontal failures during extreme dry or wet periods are elaborated. First, a geo-hydrologic design procedure to assess the consequences of droughts for cracked peat levees is presented. The design procedure is then validated with measurements of a peat levee, the Middelburgsekade, and extreme water table positions that are likely to occur once in a period of 400 years that have been predicted for this levee. Furthermore, the most dangerous cracks for the Wilnis case are indicated. Next, the performance of levees and floodwalls during Hurricane Katrina are presented. Finally, the failure of the 17th Street Canal breach in New Orleans is described in detail. Conclusions are drawn related to horizontal failures and location of cracks during extreme weather conditions

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

Sixth Conference

Publisher

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

8-11-2008

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 2008 Missouri University of Science and Technology, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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Aug 11th, 12:00 AM Aug 16th, 12:00 AM

Horizontal Translational Failures of Levees Due to Water Filled Gaps

Arlington, Virginia

A peat levee at Wilnis in The Netherlands suddenly failed at the end of the relatively dry summer of 2003. On Monday, 29 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. gulf coast and breached, among other failures, the 17th Street Canal. These failures triggered large research programs. In the Wilnis case, it was eventually deduced that the 5-m horizontal translation of the levee was triggered by a combination of reduced weight by evaporation, shrinkage and cracking of the peat material, and an increased head in the sand layer under the dike. A key factor in the 17th Street Canal failure was the formation of a gap between the wall and the levee fill on the canal side of the fill. Due to climate change, more extreme dry and wet periods, land subsidence, and increasing sea and river levels, the horizontal shifting due to cracking is becoming more significant in the safety assessments of levees. In this paper, aspects of horizontal failures during extreme dry or wet periods are elaborated. First, a geo-hydrologic design procedure to assess the consequences of droughts for cracked peat levees is presented. The design procedure is then validated with measurements of a peat levee, the Middelburgsekade, and extreme water table positions that are likely to occur once in a period of 400 years that have been predicted for this levee. Furthermore, the most dangerous cracks for the Wilnis case are indicated. Next, the performance of levees and floodwalls during Hurricane Katrina are presented. Finally, the failure of the 17th Street Canal breach in New Orleans is described in detail. Conclusions are drawn related to horizontal failures and location of cracks during extreme weather conditions