Collapse of Fargo Grain Elevator

by Reymond L. Nordlund, (M.ASCE), Dist. Mgr.; Franki Foundation Co., Washington, D.C.,
Don U. Deere, (M.ASCE), Prof.; Civ. Engrg. and of Geol., Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 2, Pg. 585-607

Document Type: Journal Paper


The rate of application of the load and its magnitude at failure at the Fargo grain elevator were known. Distribution of the load on the foundation was known. There were, however, some complicating factors. The subsoil consisted of four distinct layers within the significant depth. Three of the layers were clay or silty clay while the fourth was an interbedded sand, silt and clay. In addition, it was shown that shear strength varied greatly depending upon the method of testing. The observed bearing capacity was compared with various computed values depending upon the method of measuring shear strength. The results indicated that Skempton's solution gave excellent results if shear strengths measured by vane tests were used and the concept of progressive failure was utilized.

Subject Headings: Clays | Shear strength | Crops | Elevators | Failure analysis | Load distribution | Silt | Shear tests

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