This discussion presents some ideas on the influence of hydraulic fracturing on design practice. It is noted that in most higher dams and many low dams, internal zones of low stress probably exist where the bulk of the seepage water is not travelling through the soil pore spaces, but rather through fine cracks. Water penetration into such "hydraulic fractures" explains certain aspects of dam performance. These fractures are only open when the water pressure acts, and they are inside the dam so that it is not possible to verify the action by direct visual observation. It is therefore necessary to reason from indirect evidence. It is noted that although it is impossible to the completely confident of the frequency and severity of differential settlement, it is necessary to assure, that such action may occur commonly in well constructed dams in the first period of reservior operation. The discussor concurs with the developing practice to abandon the concrete cutoff walls. If hydraulic fracturing is assured to occur frequently in embankment dams, then it must be assured that at least small concentrated leaks can and do occur at other locations in dams. However, appropriate filters can be relied upon to provide safe control and sealing of initial leaks that may develop from any source.

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Refer to ASCE Proceeding Paper 12400 by FH Kulhawy and TM Gurtowski, September 1976.
  • Corporate Authors:

    American Society of Civil Engineers

    345 East 47th Street
    New York, NY  United States  10017-2398
  • Discussers:
    • Sheraerd, J L
  • Publication Date: 1977-7

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00165899
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: ASCE 13054
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 29 1978 12:00AM