Response of Earth Dams to Earthquake Events – Field Data and Numerical Modelling


Many earth dams around the world are located in zones characterised by moderate to high seismicity. Their seismic stability can be particularly critical for the safety of the areas in the downstream side and therefore an in-depth understanding of their response during earthquakes is required. Relevant experimental data are hard to obtain as full scale tests are very expensive to be performed and real data recorded from actual earthquakes are rare and sparse. On the other hand, sophisticated numerical models do exist nowadays, but they need to be calibrated against real measurements from previous earthquake events before they are used reliably for future design.

This talk presents the seismic response of the La Villita dam in Mexico under two different earthquake events. Analysis of the actual field data along with relevant static and dynamic nonlinear finite element analyses are presented and discussed to obtain an understanding of the behaviour of the dam. Such a validation is necessary to build confidence in the developed numerical models. Subsequently several issues related to the general performance of dams during an earthquake will be discussed, such as the stiffening effect of narrow canyon topographies, dam-reservoir interaction and the effect of the compliant dam foundation.

About the speaker

Dr Loizos Pelecanos is a Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Bath. He joined the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering in July 2016. He graduated from Imperial College London with a MEng in Civil Engineering (2009) and a PhD in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (2013). He subsequently worked for 3.5 years as a Post-doctoral Research Associate in Civil Engineering at the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) at the University of Cambridge.

Loizos’s research expertise is in Computational Geomechanics. His doctoral research work at Imperial College concentrated on computational seismic analysis of earth dams and included extensive static and dynamic nonlinear finite element analyses and studies of dynamic dam-reservoir interaction, in particular during earthquakes. His subsequent post-doctoral research work at Cambridge was concerned with innovative distributed fibre-optic sensing of soil-structure interaction (SSI) problems along with relevant numerical analysis using appropriate finite element models. Examples of such SSI problems include foundation piles, energy piles, piled rafts, retaining walls and soil nails.

Further information

This evening meeting is organised by SECED and chaired by Dr Stavroula Kontoe (Imperial College London). Non-members of the society are welcome to attend. Attendance at this meeting is free. Seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Tea and biscuits will be served from 5.30pm - 6pm. For further information, please contact Katherine Coldwell (tel. 020 7665 2238).

Event Details

Event Date 29/11/2017 6:00 pm
Location Institution of Civil Engineers

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