EMBANKMENT DAM CRACKING

The results are presented of an intensive examination of the problem with emphasis on a review and evaluation of experience with cracked dams during the last few years. Differential settlement cracks are common in all types of embankment dams with earth cores. In a majority of cases no leaks have developed, the cracks have been repaired by simple means, and the dam has subsequently performed satisfactorily. In a small number of dams, concentrated leaks in cracks have caused serious piping damage or complete failure. Severe cracking in modern, well-constructed dams have been caused by compression of soil foundations. Cracking is common in dams that were compacted at an average water content several percentage points below standard AASHO optimum. Complete failures, in which the entire reservoir released through a breach or erosion tunnel, have usually occurred only in homogeneous, relatively low dams which have no internal vertical filter drain or zoning to control concentrated leaks. Concentrated leaks and serious erosion damage have occurred in important rockfill dams with vertical earth cores. For dams of low to moderate height, the likelihood of cracking can be reduced to a very low value by conservative measures to reduce the differential settlement. Details are also discussed of leaks in unseen cracks and hydraulic fracturing, rockfill dams with central earth cores, cracking in small dams, soil properties, fluid losses in boreholes, and general experiences.

  • Corporate Authors:

    John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated

    111 River Street
    Hoboken, NJ  USA  07030-6000
  • Authors:
    • Sherard, J L
  • Publication Date: 0

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00096420
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 15 1975 12:00AM