Case study of the post-earthquake behavior of a CFRD dam

Alejo Sfriso
Friday, September 6, 2013
First presented: 
18th International Conference for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, France
Published paper

Potrerillos dam is a 120m high CFRD dam recently built in Mendoza, Argentina. The dam was built on top of a riverbed containing loose sand seams. Concern about the seismic stability of the dam derived in the construction of a large downstream buttress, not considered in the original design and bid. The key question that arose during the consequent claim is: was the buttress essential for the dam’s stability? In the paper, a twofold analysis of the problem is performed: i) the analytical methods employed in the original discussion are briefly introduced and discussed; ii) a simple static pushover analysis is performed numerically, where the sand seams are forced to follow the full strain path through contractive to dilating to critical state. In both analyses, the thrust required to displace the dam body is compared to the hydrostatic pressure to assess on dam’s stability. The results obtained using both methods are compared. The main conclusion is that the self-weight of the dam produces an increase in the undrained shear strength of the sandy seams that yields the downstream buttress not essential.

Feature Author

Alejo Oscar Sfriso

Alejo Sfriso has 25 years of experience in geotechnical engineering for infrastructure and mining works. He is an expert in the application of numerical methods for geotechnical design and analysis. Alejo belongs to twelve professional associations, including ISSMGE, IAEG, ISRM, IGS, ICOLD, IACMAG, ITA, ASCE and its corresponding chapters in Argentina. He was member of the Executive Committee of the Argentinean Society for Geotechnical Engineering in the period 1997 - 2015, being the President of the Society (2011-2015). Alejo serves as Professor at the University of Buenos Aires since 1989 and at the University of La Plata between 1996 and 2015, in the subjects of Soil Mechanics, Rock Mechanics and Foundations. He also serves as jury member for faculty positions and theses, reviewer of journals, member of advisory committees, conference organizing committees, and departmental councils at the Faculty of Engineering of University of Buenos Aires, among others.

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