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New insights into the 1963 Vajont slide using 2D and 3D distinct-element method analyses

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stefano Utili


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The 1963 Vajont rock slide is studied using the distinct-element method (DEM). Two-dimensional(2D) and three-dimensional (3D) DEM models were constructed based on information published inthe literature. In this study, a strength reduction approach was used to calculate the slide surfacefriction angles required for stability. The influence of several parameters was investigated in 2D,namely the reservoir water level, the shear stiffness of the slide surface, the rock mass strength, therock mass deformability and rock joint patterns. Of the parameters which have been investigated, themost important parameter was found to be the reservoir water level. The rock mass deformability,which is neglected by other investigators, is also found to be important. From the 3D analyses, thefailure friction angle was found to be sensitive to the assumptions made on the eastern boundary, andcould affect the failure friction angle by approximately 38. The slope was found to exhibit signs offailure beginning from slide_surface ¼ 268 before complete loss of resistance at slide_surface ¼ 188. It alsoemerges that, although the eastern end of the slope is the first to exhibit signs of movement, thedisplacements at the western end of the slope become larger than the ones at the eastern end as thestability of the slope reduces. Finally, this study showcases some useful numerical techniquesdeveloped ad hoc for DEM analyses to investigate the stability of large-scale slopes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Boon CW, Houlsby GT, Utili S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geotechnique

Year: 2014

Volume: 64

Issue: 10

Pages: 800-816

Print publication date: 01/10/2014

Online publication date: 21/10/2014

Acceptance date: 01/07/2014

ISSN (print): 0016-8505

ISSN (electronic): 1751-7656

Publisher: ICE Publishing


DOI: 10.1680/geot.14.P.041


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