Earth Slope Reliability by a Level-Crossing Method

by J. Morla Catalan, Struct. Engr.; Iglesias, Vasquez, Del Nido, and Bonnet, Puerto Rico; formerly, Grad. Student, MIT, Cambridge, Mass.,
C. Allin Cornell, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., Cambridge, Mass.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 6, Pg. 591-604

Document Type: Journal Paper


An approximate formulation for the reliability analysis of earth slopes was derived by transforming the slope reliability analysis problem into a level-crossing problem, solved approximately by finding the expected number of minima of the safety margin (process) that lie below zero. The main feature of the solution is that, in effect, it considers the slope as a series system with an infinite number of (correlated) failure modes. The formulation was used to estimate the probability of failure of specific earth slopes. The results obtained imply that the use of the failure mode of least reliability to approximate the probability of failure of the slope may be highly unconservative and may predict incorrectly even the signs of changes in the slope reliability with changes in parameter values.

Subject Headings: Failure analysis | Failure modes | Slopes | Probability | Safety | Parameters (statistics)

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