Progressive Failure of an Overtopped Embankment

by Ghassan AlQaser, Colorado State Univ, Fort Collins, United States,
James F. Ruff, Colorado State Univ, Fort Collins, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


The failure of an overtopped embankment is a problem of a very complicated nature. Concerned organizations are interested in information that can be used in future planning and development of areas downstream from an embankment of a potential failure. A study of the progressive failure of an overtopped embankment was designed and implemented. The eventual use of the test results will be in modifying the hypotheses used so far in dam break models. The test results showed completely different mechanics for the development and the progression of the breach than the mechanics adopted in the available dam break models. Based on the experimental results, the erosional processes of an overtopped embankment will involve tractive shear erosion, headward cutting, and structural failures. It is found that, depending on the size of the flood, the failure of an overtopped embankment may be minimal, partial, or complete.

Subject Headings: Structural failures | Dam failures | Failure analysis | Wave overtopping | Progressive collapse | Model tests | Embankment dams | Hydraulic models | United States | North America | Washington | Oregon

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