Part of the book: Soil Erosion
This chapter presents the importance of geotechnical engineering on the site selection, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of earth-rock dams and earth structures; it emphasizes the geotechnical engineering work related to dam safety during the operation stage. Preliminary geological studies required to select the best dam site are described first. Next, the field and laboratory studies related to the curtain design and dam foundation treatment, as well as geotechnical studies required for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the dam, are discussed. Recent developments in the following three areas are also included: (a) seismic considerations for the design, construction, and maintenance of earth dams; (b) importance of water flow control through the dam embankment and dam foundation, required to avoid internal soil erosion and excessive pore pressure; and (c) dam safety in Mexico and around the world. A case history of a recent failure is used for illustration purposes. In this example, design and construction shortcomings resulted in serious damages on an earth dam. Conclusions and recommendations related to this topic are presented at the end of this chapter.
Part of the book: Hydraulic Structures - Theory and Applications