Dynamic Analysis of Earth Dams in Three Dimensions

by Lelio H. Mejia, (A.M.ASCE), Sr. Engr., Harding-Lawson Assocs.; Novato, Calif. 94948,
H. Bolton Seed, (F.ASCE), Prof., Civil Engrg.; Univ. of California, Berkeley, Calif.,
John Lysmer, (M.ASCE), Prof., Civil Engrg.; Univ. of California, Berkeley, Calif.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 12, Pg. 1586-1604

Document Type: Journal Paper


The number of large dams constructed in narrow canyons, where plane strain conditions provide only an approximation to the true behavior of the structure, has increased considerably in recent years. Accordingly, the development of efficient numerical techniques for the three-dimensional dynamic analysis of earth dams has become a problem of practical importance. This paper presents a description of finite element techniques for the dynamic response analysis of earth and rockfill dams in three dimensions. Additionally, the method has been used to compute the dynamic response of Oroville Dam for the August 1, 1975 Oroville earthquake and to evaluate the dynamic material properties of the dam. The values obtained using this procedure are in reasonable agreement with the results of laboratory tests on the Oroville Dam shell material.

Subject Headings: Dynamic analysis | Material properties | Earthfill dams | Three-dimensional analysis | Finite element method | Dynamic response | Dynamic properties | Canyons

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