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2015 National Dam Safety Program Technical Seminar No.

22:
Dam Breach Modeling
and Consequence Assessment

Overview of Failure Modes

Jay N. Stateler
Embankment Riprap
Slope
Protection
Dams Earthfill

Foundation Soil

Riprap Earthfill Zones


Slope
Protection
Toe
Drain
Filters

Foundation Soil

Foundation Rock
Grout Curtain
Potential Riprap
Slope
Protection
Failure Mode Earthfill

Seepage through
dam
Erodes earthfill Foundation Soil
Carries earthfill
downstream
Riprap
Eventually Slope
Earthfill Zones

breaches dam Protection


Toe
Drain
Filters

Foundation Soil

Foundation Rock
Grout Curtain
Hadlock Pond
New York
Constructed: 1896
Modified: 2004-2005
Failed: July 2, 2005
Seepage Failure
0 Fatalities
Baldwin Hills Dam
Los Angeles, California
Constructed: 1947-1951
Failed: December 11, 1963
Seepage Failure
5 Fatalities
San Francisco Dam
New Mexico
Constructed: 1960s
Failed: May 24, 2003
Flood Seepage Failure
No Fatalities
Delhi Dam, Iowa
Constructed: 1929
Failed: July 24, 2010
Flood Some overtopping,
but failed due to seepage
0 Fatalities
Potential Riprap
Slope
Protection
Failure Mode Earthfill

Seepage through
dam
Erodes earthfill Foundation Soil
Carries earthfill
downstream
Riprap
Eventually Slope
Earthfill Zones

breaches dam Protection


Toe
Filter lets water Drain
through, but not Filters

earthfill carried by Foundation Soil


seepage
Stops failure mode Grout Curtain
Foundation Rock
development
Potential Riprap
Slope
Protection
Failure Mode Earthfill

Seepage through
foundation soil
Erodes soil Foundation Soil
Carries soil to a
downstream exit
Riprap
point Slope
Earthfill Zones
Eventually creates Protection
a dam breach Toe
Drain
Filters

Foundation Soil

Foundation Rock
Grout Curtain
Arthur V. Watkins Dam
Foundation soil
Constructed: 1958-1964 deposits in South
Nearly Failed: November, 2006 Drain
Seepage

20 feet high
Potential Riprap
Slope
Protection
Failure Mode Earthfill

Seepage through
foundation soil
Foundation Soil
Cutoff trench, grout
curtain, cutoff wall,
etc. limit seepage Riprap Earthfill Zones
Slope
through foundation Protection
Downstream filters Toe
and toe drain collect Drain
Filters
(and filter seepage)
Potential for failure Cutoff Trench Foundation Soil
mode development
Foundation Rock
is reduced Grout Curtain
Into Coarse Layers in Foundation Soil

Potential
Failure Mode
Seepage carries
earthfill into
foundation
Erodes earthfill
Carries earthfill
downstream Into Joints, Openings, Etc. in Foundation Rock
Eventually breaches
dam
Teton Dam, Idaho
Constructed: 1975
Failed: June 5, 1976
Seepage Failure
During first filling
11 Fatalities
Quail Creek Dike
Constructed: 1984
First Filling: 1985
Failed: January 1, 1989
Seepage Failure
During first filling
No Fatalities
Into Coarse Layers in Foundation Soil

Potential
Failure Mode
Seepage carries
Filter
earthfill into Protection
foundation

Filter protects against


earthfill being carried Into Joints, Openings, Etc. in Foundation Rock
by seepage into
foundation soil

Foundation treatment
seals openings in rock
no seepage into rock Foundation Treatment
(slush grouting, dental
concrete, etc.)
Potential
Failure Mode
Seepage along
conduits through dam
embankment
Erodes earthfill
Carries earthfill
downstream
Breaches dam
Filter material
needs to be
completely wrapped
around the conduit
stops development
of the failure mode
Lawn Lake Dam
Colorado
Constructed: 1903
Failed: July 15, 1982
Seepage
3 Fatalities
Isabel Myron Dam
Colorado
Constructed: Unknown
Failed: 1978
Wind Tree Toppling
Overtopping (?)
or Seepage (?)
0 Fatalities (believed)
Slope Instability
Potential Dam overtopping in a flood
Failure Mode The capacity of the spillway(s) is
exceeded by flood flows
Water flows over the dam crest
Embankment The overtopping flow erodes the
dam embankment
Dams Dam breaches

Auxiliary
spillway
Rainbow Dam
Michigan
Failed: 1986
Flood - Overtopping

Erosion Begins

Dam is Breached
Ka Loko Dam
Hawaii
Constructed: 1890
Failed: March 14, 2006
Flood Overtopping
7 Fatalities
Brazil
Failed: 1980s
Flood Overtopping
Spillway gates not opened
Noppikoski Dam, Sweden
Constructed: Not known
Failed: September 6, 1985
Flood Overtopping Could not
remove stoplogs in time
0 Fatalities
El Guapo Dam
Venezuela
Failed: December 16, 1999

Spillway
failure in
a flood
event
Earthquake causes strength loss in
Potential foundation soil leads to instability
Failure Mode and failure by dam overtopping

The dam slides in the


downstream direction on
the weak layer

The liquefied soil is


more like a fluid
has little shear
strength

Foundation soil that is saturated Earthquake shaking causes


and loose (not very dense) it to lose strength (liquefy)

Embankment Dams Earthquake-Related Failure


Earthquake causes strength loss in
Potential foundation soil leads to instability
Failure Mode and failure by dam overtopping

Dam failure occurs


almost immediately after
the earthquake

Embankment Dams Earthquake-Related Failure


Sheffield Dam
California
Constructed: 1917
Failed: June 29, 1925
Earthquake Liquefaction
No Fatalities
Lower San Fernando
(Van Norman) Dam
Los Angeles, California
Constructed: 1912, Raised 1921
Nearly Failed: February 9, 1971
Earthquake
No Fatalities
Earthquake-caused cracks and/or
Potential damage that leads to seepage-
Failure Mode related dam failure
Mostly rock, rather
Major Types of Dams than soil
Thin impervious core
Embankment Potential failure
modes and monitoring
Rockfill are similar to
Central Core embankment dams
Impervious Upstream Face Filter protection for
the core is key
Concrete
Filtering
Gravity Transition
Zones
Arch Impervious
Earthfill
Buttress Core

Masonry
Composite Rock Rock
Could be:
Geomembrane
Rockfill Dam Concrete
Asphalt
Rock

Steel
Clay Should be free draining
Impervious
Upstream
Face
Settlement of rockfill and/or earthquake shaking
could cause damage to the upstream face and
leakage
If the rockfill is free-draining (as it should be), this
would not be an issue (except for the lost water)
If the rockfill is not free-draining, then water
pressure buildup could cause slope instability and
dam failure
Could be:
Geomembrane
Rockfill Dam Concrete
Asphalt
Rock

Steel
Clay Should be free draining
Impervious
Upstream
Face
Overtopping flow in a flood could result in
erosion at the downstream slope and toe area
Competent rockfill and foundation material
should not suffer much damage, but significant
erosion could occur in poorer materials
Erosion Oversteepened slope Slope
Failure
Could be:
Geomembrane
Rockfill Dam Concrete
Asphalt
Rock

Steel
Clay Should be free draining
Impervious
Upstream
Face
Taum Sauk Dam, Missouri
Constructed: 1962
Failed: December 14, 2005
Overtopping operational
issues
0 Fatalities
Key Issue for all Concrete Dam Types:
Foundation Support of Structure

Loads on the dam ultimately are transferred and carried


by the foundation (and abutments for arch dams)
Problems with foundation support have been the cause
of the majority of concrete dam failures
Bayless (Austin) Dam
Pennsylvania
Constructed: 1909
Failed: September 30, 1911
Failed by Sliding in Flood
78 Fatalities
St. Francis Dam
California
Constructed: 1926
Failed: March 12, 1928
Sliding of Abutment
in First Filling
~450 Fatalities
St. Francis Dam
California
Constructed: 1926
Failed: March 12, 1928
Sliding of Abutment
in First Filling
~450 Fatalities
By: J. David Rogers, Professor of
Geological Engineering, Missouri
University of Science and Technology
By: J. David Rogers, Professor of
Geological Engineering, Missouri
University of Science and Technology
By: J. David Rogers, Professor of
Geological Engineering, Missouri
University of Science and Technology
By: J. David Rogers, Professor of
Geological Engineering, Missouri
University of Science and Technology
By: J. David Rogers, Professor of
Geological Engineering, Missouri
University of Science and Technology
By: J. David Rogers, Professor of
Geological Engineering, Missouri
University of Science and Technology
By: J. David Rogers, Professor of
Geological Engineering, Missouri
University of Science and Technology
By: J. David Rogers, Professor of
Geological Engineering, Missouri
University of Science and Technology
By: J. David Rogers, Professor of
Geological Engineering, Missouri
University of Science and Technology
Malpasset Dam
France
Constructed: 1959
Failed: December 2, 1959
Abutment Movement
in First Filling
421 Fatalities
Camara Dam
Brazil
Constructed: 2002
Failed: June 2004
Foundation Movement
in Essentially First Filling
5-25 Fatalities
Gibson Dam Montana 1964 dam overtopping
Overtopping flow could erode foundation material
Gibson Dam Montana 1964 dam overtopping
Overtopping flow could erode foundation material

To protect against
a future possibly
larger flood event
Overtopping protection
provided after the event
Cascade Dam
Colorado
Failed: July 15, 1982
Overtopping due to failure of
upstream Lawn Lake Dam
2 Fatalities

Lawn Lake Dam


Colorado
Constructed: 1903
Failed: July 15, 1982
Seepage
3 Fatalities
Most potential
failure modes
Masonry similar to
Dams concrete gravity
dams

Good foundation
support is
crucial
Castlewood Dam, Colorado
Constructed: 1890
Failed: August 3, 1933
Failed in Flood Erosion at toe of dam Leakage
May, 1990
7 Fatalities
Virginia Kendall Dam, Ohio
Constructed: 1930s
Overtopped: July 21, 2003
Did not fail

Delhi Dam, Iowa


Constructed: 1929
Failed: July 24, 2010
Flood Overtopping, but failed due to seepage
0 Fatalities
Frozen Lake Dam
Washington
Constructed: 1930
Failed: Hopefully Never
A. Embankment Dam B. Embankment Dam
Seepage Failure Seepage Failure
Unconstrained Constrained
Development Development
Sudden Sudden
Failure Failure
Large Flow Large Flow
Large Dam
Not Sudden Failure
Failure Flood?
Very Large Flow

Sudden Failure
C. Embankment Dam D. Concrete Dam
Large Flow
Overtopping in Flood All Failure Types

E. Embankment Dam Sudden Failure? Maybe No


Earthquake Maybe Water Released
(Limited Warning Time)
Delayed No Water
Failure Released
Not Sudden F. Embankment Dam
Failure Earthquake Sudden Failure
Immediate Failure