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Case study of the post-earthquake behavior of a CFRD dam

Alejo Sfriso
Friday, September 6, 2013
First presented: 
18th International Conference for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, France
Published paper

Potrerillos dam is a 120m high CFRD dam recently built in Mendoza, Argentina. The dam was built on top of a riverbed containing loose sand seams. Concern about the seismic stability of the dam derived in the construction of a large downstream buttress, not considered in the original design and bid. The key question that arose during the consequent claim is: was the buttress essential for the dam’s stability? In the paper, a twofold analysis of the problem is performed: i) the analytical methods employed in the original discussion are briefly introduced and discussed; ii) a simple static pushover analysis is performed numerically, where the sand seams are forced to follow the full strain path through contractive to dilating to critical state. In both analyses, the thrust required to displace the dam body is compared to the hydrostatic pressure to assess on dam’s stability. The results obtained using both methods are compared. The main conclusion is that the self-weight of the dam produces an increase in the undrained shear strength of the sandy seams that yields the downstream buttress not essential.

Feature Author

Alejo Oscar Sfriso

Alejo O. Sfriso is a Principal Engineer with 25 years of experience in geotechnical engineering for infrastructure and mining works. He is an expert in the application of numerical methods for geotechnical design and analysis. In addition to his activity at SRK, he is the Director of AOSA - Geotechnical Laboratory, Professor of Soil Mechanics and Geology of the University of Buenos Aires, Vice President for South America of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering for the period 2017 - 2021, former Professor of Geotechnics at the National University of La Plata and former President of the Argentinean Society of Geotechnical Engineering.

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