Location

Chicago, Illinois

Session Start Date

4-29-2013

Session End Date

5-4-2013

Abstract

Historical study of dams conceived in earlier times is essential. To continue advancing, the engineering profession must periodically review past problems and the lessons that they taught. Candid sharing of information on failures as well as successes is needed. In fact, some of the most valuable learning has come from projects where errors have been clear in retrospect. In recent years, dam safety has drawn increasing attention from the public. This is because floods resulting from breaching of dams can lead to devastating disasters with tremendous loss of life and property, especially in densely populated areas. Past dam failure disasters showed that the loss of life in the event of a dam failure is directly related to the warning time available to evacuate the population at risk downstream of the dam. Earth and rock fill dams are widely used throughout the world, and most of the dam failures involve such dams. To speak about failures of dams without a brief account of these happenings in the dam world is not possible. Therefore, it is essential to go through the case histories of such dam failures to understand the causes of failures of the dams failed in the past. The main causes of failures of such dams are attributed to overtopping, internal erosion and piping. There are excellent sources and case studies are available in the literature related to failure of the earthen dams due to overtopping, internal erosion and piping. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the most promising causes of the earthen dam failures and present the case histories of the dams failed in the world due to these causes. The case histories reported in this paper are chosen not for the entity of the damage occurred, but are representative of the body of knowledge that has been accumulated in the interest of the future safety of dams.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

Seventh Conference

Publisher

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

4-29-2013

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 2013 Missouri University of Science and Technology, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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Apr 29th, 12:00 AM May 4th, 12:00 AM

Case Histories of Earthen Dam Failures

Chicago, Illinois

Historical study of dams conceived in earlier times is essential. To continue advancing, the engineering profession must periodically review past problems and the lessons that they taught. Candid sharing of information on failures as well as successes is needed. In fact, some of the most valuable learning has come from projects where errors have been clear in retrospect. In recent years, dam safety has drawn increasing attention from the public. This is because floods resulting from breaching of dams can lead to devastating disasters with tremendous loss of life and property, especially in densely populated areas. Past dam failure disasters showed that the loss of life in the event of a dam failure is directly related to the warning time available to evacuate the population at risk downstream of the dam. Earth and rock fill dams are widely used throughout the world, and most of the dam failures involve such dams. To speak about failures of dams without a brief account of these happenings in the dam world is not possible. Therefore, it is essential to go through the case histories of such dam failures to understand the causes of failures of the dams failed in the past. The main causes of failures of such dams are attributed to overtopping, internal erosion and piping. There are excellent sources and case studies are available in the literature related to failure of the earthen dams due to overtopping, internal erosion and piping. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the most promising causes of the earthen dam failures and present the case histories of the dams failed in the world due to these causes. The case histories reported in this paper are chosen not for the entity of the damage occurred, but are representative of the body of knowledge that has been accumulated in the interest of the future safety of dams.