Observational Data on Ground Movements Related to Slope Instability

by Stanley D. Wilson, Vice Pres.; Shannon & Wilson, Inc., Seattle, WA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 5, Pg. 1519-1544

Document Type: Journal Paper


Data from field measurements verify the progressive nature of landslides resulting from excavations at the toe of slopes in over-consolidated highly plastic clays and clay-shales. The data are in agreement with generally accepted hypotheses concerning the mechanism of such progressive failures. The distribution of such movements changes with time, and both total movements and velocities must be reviewed to understand the failure process. Horizontal movements resulting from the construction of embankments on soft clays are shown also to be progressive and to be similar to those resulting from cuts in over-consolidated clays. These movements often extend well beyond the toe of the embankment except when the fill is placed on a stiff layer overlying soft materials. Several of the progressive slides were stabilized by corrective treatment which included cylinder pile retaining walls, underground concrete buttresses and slope flattening. Analysis of field observational data leads to a better understanding of the mechanism of failure and ultimately may lead to improved methods of stability analysis.

Subject Headings: Failure analysis | Clays | Field tests | Ground motion | Slopes | Landslides | Overconsolidated soils | Progressive collapse

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