Lessons learned from dike failures in recent decades

Zwanenburg, Cor and López-Acosta, Norma Patricia and Tourment, Rémy and Tarantino, Alessandro and Pozzato, Annarita and Pinto, Alexandre (2018) Lessons learned from dike failures in recent decades. International Journal of Geoengineering Case Histories, 4 (3). pp. 203-229.

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    Abstract

    The paper describes five different dike failures that occurred in recent decades. The case histories were located on different rivers and involved different loading conditions. The observed failure mechanisms involved erosion and stability problems. The types of erosion observed were both internal erosion due to extreme groundwater flow and external erosion caused by the river flow and wave action. The case involving instability was caused by uplift, i.e., increased hydraulic head led to a sharp reduction in maximum shear strength between subsoil layers. Two cases demonstrate the importance of dike management and maintenance. Despite the variations in the loading conditions and failure mechanisms, all the cases show that the strength of a dike depends not only on the material used to build the dike but also on the strength of the subsoil.