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Assessing potential for internal erosion in glacial moraine core embankment dams
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering.
2007 (English)In: Dam Engineering, ISSN 0958-9341, Vol. 18, no 2, 101-117 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Internal erosion, the process of washout of fine-grained material by seepage flow from an embankment dam filling material, can pose a major threat to dam safety. Internal erosion at a far reached stage can surface in the shape of sinkholes, sudden turbid leakages and settlements, indicating that the filling material in the dam is undergoing potentially significant property changes. It was early on found, for instance by Sherard [1979], that embankment dams comprising broadly graded material appear to develop sinkholes more frequent than dams of other material components. And considering that typical Swedish embankment dams are composed of material with broad and wide gradations of glacial origin, in particular the impervious core of broadly graded moraine (till), it should come as no surprise that many embankment dams in Sweden have shown signs of deterioration that can be related to internal erosion. The susceptibility for internal erosion in Swedish embankment dams was perhaps first noticed in a survey carried out by Nilsson et al [1999], where 20 % of the incorporated dams were estimated being affected by internal erosion. To reduce the risks connected to internal erosion it can be necessary to implement dam safety measures preferably at an early stage before the internal erosion progressed to surfacing, but distinguishing which dams that hold a real potential future risk for internal erosion can prove difficult. This paper is based on an evaluation comprising 45 existing Swedish embankment dams and the results show that a more discriminatory predictor, than today’s filter criteria, appears to be needed if embankment dams with widely graded glacial cores with high potential for surfacing internal erosion are to be singled out from dams apparently internal erosion free. The results indicate that not only filter coarseness needs to be addressed when assessing potential for internal erosion in embankment dams with glacial moraine cores, but also the internal stability of the core and filter.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kent UK: Global Trade Media , 2007. Vol. 18, no 2, 101-117 p.
Keyword [en]
dams, internal erosion, moraine, filter, prediction method
National Category
Mineral and Mine Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-14055OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-14055DiVA: diva2:329515
Note

QC 20100712

Available from: 2010-07-12 Created: 2010-07-12 Last updated: 2012-12-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Predicting surfacing internal erosion in moraine core dams
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Predicting surfacing internal erosion in moraine core dams
2010 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Dams that comprise broadly and widely graded glacial materials, such as moraines, have been found to be susceptible to internal erosion, perhaps more than dams of other soil types. Internal erosion washes out fine-grained particles from the filling material; the erosion occurs within the material itself or at an interface to another dam zone, depending on the mode of initiation. Whether or not internal erosion proceeds depend on the adequacy of the filter material. If internal erosion is allowed, it may manifest itself as sinkholes on the crest, increased leakage and muddy seepage once it surfaces, which here is called surfacing internal erosion (i.e. internal erosion in the excessive erosion or continuation phase). In spite of significant developments since the 1980s in the field of internal erosion assessment, the validity of methods developed by others on broadly graded materials are still less clear because most available criteria are based on tests of narrowly graded granular soils. This thesis specifically addresses dams that are composed of broadly graded glacial soils and investigates typical indicators, signs and behaviors of internal erosion prone dams. Based on a review of 90+ existing moraine core dams, which are located mainly in Scandinavia as well as North America and Australia/New Zealand, this thesis will show that not only the filter’s coarseness needs to be reviewed when assessing the potential for internal erosion to surface (i.e., erosion in the excessive or continuing phase); in addition, the grading stability of the filter and the core material as well as non-homogeneities that are caused by filter segregation need to be studied. Cross-referencing between these aspects improves the assessment of potential for internal erosion in dams of broadly graded soils and furthermore it provides aid-to-judgment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2010. 58 p.
Series
Trita-LWR. LIC, ISSN 1650-8629 ; 2050
Keyword
internal erosion, internal stability, filters, moraine core, embankment dams, sinkholes, internal erosion assessment
National Category
Mineral and Mine Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-14084 (URN)978-91-7415-699-7 (ISBN)
Presentation
2010-09-28, V1, Teknikringen 76, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100715Available from: 2010-07-15 Created: 2010-07-12 Last updated: 2010-07-15Bibliographically approved

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