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Soil suction monitoring for landslides and slopes

Toll, D.G. and Lourenco, S.D.N. and Mendes, J. and Gallipoli, D. and Evans, F.D. and Augarde, C.E. and Cui, Y.J. and Tang, A.M. and Rojas, J.C. and Pagano, L. and Mancuso, C. and Zingariello, C. and Tarantino, Alessandro (2011) Soil suction monitoring for landslides and slopes. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 44. pp. 1-13. ISSN 1470-9236

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Abstract

Rainfall is the most frequent triggering factor for landslides and the development of early warning systems has to take account of this. It is suggested that direct measurement of pore pressure gives the most reliable prediction of failure of a slope. The amount of rainfall can be only a crude indicator of failure as the processes that occur between rain falling on a slope and the resulting pore water pressure change are complex, highly non-linear and hysteretic. The paper describes highcapacity tensiometers developed within the EU-funded MUSE Research Training Network that have been used for measuring suctions in slopes. High-capacity tensiometers are capable of direct measurement of pore water pressure down to −2 MPa and are also able to record positive pore water pressures. Two methods of field installation are discussed; one developed by ENPC in France uses a single tensiometer per hole, and the second technique, developed by Durham University in the UK, allows multiple tensiometers to be used at different depths within a single borehole. Continuous monitoring of pore water pressure has been carried out over several months and shows the responses to climatic events.