Volume 9 Issue 3
Jul.  2016
Turn off MathJax
Article Contents
Eduardo E. Alonso, Núria M. Pinyol. 2016: Numerical analysis of rapid drawdown: Applications in real cases. Water Science and Engineering, 9(3): 175-182. doi: 10.1016/j.wse.2016.11.003
Citation: Eduardo E. Alonso, Núria M. Pinyol. 2016: Numerical analysis of rapid drawdown: Applications in real cases. Water Science and Engineering, 9(3): 175-182. doi: 10.1016/j.wse.2016.11.003

Numerical analysis of rapid drawdown: Applications in real cases

doi: 10.1016/j.wse.2016.11.003
More Information
  • Corresponding author: Eduardo E. Alonso
  • Received Date: 2015-09-02
  • Rev Recd Date: 2016-06-12
  • In this paper, the rapid drawdown scenario is analyzed by means of numerical examples as well as modeling of real cases with in situ measurements. The aim of the study is to evaluate different approaches available for calculating pore water pressure distributions during and after a drawdown. To do that, a single slope subjected to a drawdown is first analyzed under different calculation alternatives, and numerical results are discussed. Simple methods, such as the undrained analysis and pure flow analysis, implicitly assuming a rigid soil skeleton, lead to significant errors in pore water pressure distributions when compared with the coupled flow-deformation analysis. In the second case study, a similar analysis is performed for the upstream slope of the Glen Shira Dam, Scotland, and numerical results are compared with field measurements during a controlled drawdown. Field records indicate that classical undrained calculations are conservative but unrealistic. Then, a recent case of a major landslide triggered by a rapid drawdown in a reservoir is interpreted. A key aspect of the case is the correct characterization of permeability of a representative soil profile. This is achieved by combining laboratory test results and a back analysis of pore water pressure time records during a period of reservoir water level fluctuations. The results highlight the difficulty of predicting whether the pore water pressure is overestimated or underestimated when using simplified approaches, and it is concluded that predicting the pore water pressure distribution in a slope after rapid drawdown requires a coupled flow-deformation analysis in saturated and unsaturated porous media.


  • loading
  • Alonso, E.E., Gens, A., Josa, A., 1990. A constitutive model for partially saturated soils. Géotechnique 40(3), 405–430. http://dx.doi: 10.1680/geot.1990.40.3.405.
    Alonso, E.E., 2005. Parámetros de Resistencia en cálculos de estabilidad. In: Proceedings of the VI Simposio Nacional sobre Taludes y Laderas Inestables. Universidad Politécnica de Valencia and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Valencia, pp.11311195.
    Berilgen, M.M., 2007. Investigation of stability of slopes under drawdown conditions. Computers and Geotechnics 34(2), 81–91. http://dx.doi: 10.1016/j.compgeo.2006.10.004.
    Brahma, S.P., Harr, M.E., 1962. Transient development of the free surface in a homogeneous earth dam. Géotechnique 12(4), 283302. http://dx.doi: 10.1680/geot.1962.12.4.283.
    Brinkgreve, R.B.J., Kumarswamy, S., Swolfs, W.M., 2015. Plaxis 2015, Reference Manual. Plaxis BV, Delft.
    Cedergren, H.R., 1967. Seepage, Drainage and Flow Nets. John Wiley and Sons Ltd., New York.
    Cividini, A., Gioda, G., 1984. Approximate F. E. analysis of seepage with a free surface. International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics 8(6), 549566. http://dx.doi: 10.1002/nag.1610080605.
    Desai, C.S., 1977. Drawdown analysis of slopes by numerical method. Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division 103(7), 667676.
    Gao, Y., Zhu, D., Zhang, F., Lei, G.H., Qin, H. 2014. Stability analysis of three-dimensional slopes under water drawdown conditions. Canadian Geotechnical Journal 51(11), 1355–1364. http://dx.doi: 10.1139/cgj-2013-0448.
    Lane, P.A., Griffiths D.V., 2000. Assessment of stability of slopes under drawdown conditions. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering 126(5), 443450. http://dx.doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)1090-0241(2000)126:5(443).
    Lawrence Von Thun, J., 1985. San Luis dam upstream slide. In: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering (Vol. 5). CRC Press, San Francisco, pp. 25932598.
    Li, D.Y., Yin, K.L, Leo, C., 2010. Analysis of Baishuihe landslide influenced by the effects of reservoir water and rainfall. Environ. Earth. Sci. 60(4), 677–687. http://dx. doi: 10.1007/s12665-009-0206-2.
    Morgenstern, N.R., 1963. Stability charts for earth slopes during rapid drawdown. Géotechnique 13(2), 121131. http://dx.doi: 10.1680/geot.1963.13.2.121.
    Neumann, S.P., 1973. Saturated-unsaturated seepage by finite elements. Journal of Hydraulic Division 99(12), 22332250.
    Olivella, S., Gens, A., Carrera, J., Alonso, E.E., 1996. Numerical formulation for a simulator (CODE BRIGHT) for the coupled analysis of saline media. Engineering Computations 13(7), 87112. http://dx.doi: 10.1108/02644409610151575.
    Paton, J., Semple, N.G., 1961. Investigation of the stability of an earth dam subjected to rapid drawdown including details of pore pressure recorded during a controlled drawdown test. In: Pore Pressure and Suction in Soils. Butterworths, London, pp. 8590.
    Pauls, G.J., Karlsauer, E., Christiansen, E.A., Wigder, R.A., 1999. A transient analysis of slope stability following drawdown after flooding of highly plastic clay. Canadian Geotechnical Journal 36(6), 11511171. http://dx.doi: 10.1139/t99-073.
    Pinyol, N.M., Alonso, E.E., Corominas, J., Moya, J., 2012. Canelles landslide: Modelling rapid drawdown and potential sliding. Landslides 9(1), 33-51. http://dx.doi: 10.1007/s10346-011-0264-x.
    Reinius, E., 1955. The stability of the slopes of earth dams. Géotechnique 5(2), 181189. http://dx.doi: 10.1680/geot.1955.5.2.181.
    Sherard, J.L., Woodward, R.J., Gizienski, S.F., Clevenger, W.A., 1963. Earth and earth-rock dams. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
    Skempton, A.W., 1954. The pore pressure coefficients A and B. Géotechnique 4(4), 143147. http://dx.doi: 10.1680/geot.1954.4.4.143.
    Song, K., Yan, E., Zhang, G., Lu, S., Yi, Q., 2015. Effect of hydraulic properties of soil and fluctuation velocity of reservoir water on landslide stability. Environmental Earth Sciences 74(6), 5319–5329. http://dx.doi: 10.1007/s12665-015-4541-1.
    Stark, T.D., Eid, H.T., 1997. Slope stability analyses in stiff fissured clays. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering 123(4), 335343. http://dx.doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)1090-0241(1997)123:4(335).
    Stephenson, D., 1978. Drawdown in embankments. Géotechnique 28(3), 273280. http://dx.doi: 10.1680/geot.1978.28.3.273.
    Van Genuchten, M.T., 1980. A closed-form equation for predicting the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal 44(5), 892–898. http://dx.doi: 10.2136/sssaj1980.03615995004400050002x.
    Vandenberge, D.R., 2014. Total stress rapid drawdown analysis of the Pilarcitos Dam failure using the finite element method. Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering 8(2), 115–123. http://dx.doi: 10.1007/s11709-014-0249-7.
    Viratjandr, C., Michalowski, R.L., 2006. Limit analysis of submerged slopes subjected to water drawdown. Canadian Geotechnical Journal 43(8), 802–814. http://dx.doi: 10.1139/t06-042.
    Wang, J.J., Zhang, H.P., Zhang, L., Liang, Y. 2012. Experimental study on heterogeneous slope responses to drawdown. Engineering Geology 147–148, 52–56. http://dx.doi: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2012.07.020.
    Yan, Z.L., Wang, J.J., Chai, H.J., 2010. Influence of water level fluctuation on phreatic line in silty soil model slope. Engineering Geology 113(1–4), 90–98. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enggeo.2010.02.004.
    Zhang, T., Yan, E., Cheng, J., Zheng, Y., 2010. Mechanism of reservoir water in the deformation of Hefeng landslide. J. Earth. Sci. 21(6), 870–875. http://dx.doi: 10.1007/s12583-010-0139-4.
  • 加载中


    通讯作者: 陈斌, bchen63@163.com
    • 1. 

      沈阳化工大学材料科学与工程学院 沈阳 110142

    1. 本站搜索
    2. 百度学术搜索
    3. 万方数据库搜索
    4. CNKI搜索

    Article Metrics

    Article views (924) PDF downloads(1451) Cited by()
    Proportional views


    DownLoad:  Full-Size Img  PowerPoint