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Response of earth dams to earthquake events - field data and numerical modelling, London

Event organised by Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics

29 November 2017

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Many earth dams around the world are located in zones characterised by moderate to high seismicity. Their seismic stability can be particularly critical for the safety of the areas in the downstream side and therefore an in-depth understanding of their response during earthquakes is required. Relevant experimental data are hard to obtain as full scale tests are very expensive to be performed and real data recorded from actual earthquakes are rare and sparse. On the other hand, sophisticated numerical models do exist nowadays, but they need to be calibrated against real measurements from previous earthquake events before they are used reliably for future design.

This talk presents the seismic response of the La Villita dam in Mexico under two different earthquake events. Analysis of the actual field data along with relevant static and dynamic nonlinear finite element analyses are presented and discussed to obtain an understanding of the behaviour of the dam. Such a validation is necessary to build confidence in the developed numerical models. Subsequently several issues related to the general performance of dams during an earthquake will be discussed, such as the stiffening effect of narrow canyon topographies, dam-reservoir interaction and the effect of the compliant dam foundation.

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For more information please contact:

Shelly-Ann Russell