Simplified Procedure for Estimating Dam and Embankment Earthquake-Induced Deformations

by Faiz I. Makdisi, (A.M.ASCE), Project Engr.; Woodward-Clyde Consultants, San Francisco, Calif.,
H. Bolton Seed, (F.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of California, Berkeley, Calif.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 7, Pg. 849-867

Document Type: Journal Paper


The method uses the concept of yield acceleration but is based on the evaluation of the dynamic response of the embankment rather than a rigid body behavior. The yield accelerations, for a potential sliding mass, is estimated on the basis of the static undrained shear strength (with some reduction due to effects of cycling) using pseudostatic methods of stability analysis. The permanent deformations are estimated by numerical double integration of the time history of induced accelerations for various depths of the potential sliding mass. Design curves are presented that were developed on the basis of finite element response computations of embankments subjected to base accelerations representing earthquakes of magnitudes ranging between 6-½ and 8-¼. The simplified procedure is illustrated by an example computation. The permanent deformations are estimated for a 135-ft (40-m) high sandy clay embankment that was shaken by a magnitude 8-¼ earthquake and the results are compared with the observed field behavior.

Subject Headings: Earthfill dams | Deformation (mechanics) | Shear strength | Computing in civil engineering | Earthquakes | Earthquake magnitude scale | Soil deformation | Dynamic response

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