T. Allen, J. Griffin, M. Leonard, D. Clark and H. Ghasemi
Geoscience Australia (GA) has embarked on a project to update the seismic hazard model for Australia through the National Seismic Hazard Assessment (NSHA18) project.The draft NSHA18 update yields many important advances on its predecessors, including: 1) calculation in a full probabilistic framework using the Global Earthquake Model’s OpenQuake-engine; 2) consistent expression of earthquake magnitudes in terms of moment magnitude, MW; 3) inclusion of epistemic uncertainty through the use of alternative source models; 4) inclusion of a national fault-source model based on the Australian Neotectonic Features database; 5)the use of modern ground-motion models; and 6)inclusion of epistemic uncertainty on seismic source models, ground-motion models and fault occurrence and earthquake clusteringmodels.The draft NSHA18 seismic design ground motions are significantly lower than those in the current (1991-era) AS1170.4–2007 hazard map at the 1/500-year annual ground-motion exceedance probability (AEP) level. However, draft values at lower probabilities (i.e., 1/2475-year AEP) are entirely consistent,in terms of the percentage area of land mass exceeding different ground-motion thresholds,with other Stable Continental Regions(e.g.,central & eastern United States). The large reduction in seismic hazard at the 1/500-year AEP level has led to engineering design professionals questioning whether the new draft design values will provide enough structural resilience to potential seismic loads from rare large earthquakes. This process underscores the challenges in developing national-scale probabilistic seismic hazard analyses (PSHAs)in slowly-deforming regions, where a 1/500-year AEP design level is likely to be much lower than theANCOLD Maximum Credible Earthquake (MCE) ground motions. Consequently, a robust discussion among the Standards Australia code committee, hazard practitioners and end users is required to consider alternative hazard and/or risk objectives for future standards.Site-specific PSHAs undertaken for owners and operators of extreme and high consequence dams general-ly require hazard evaluations at lower probabilities than for typical structural designas recommended in AS1170.4.However, modern national assessments, such as the NSHA18, can provide a benchmark in terms of recommended seismicity models, fault-source models, ground-motion models, as well as hazard values, for low-probability site-specific analyses.With a new understanding of earthquake processes in Australia leading to lower ground-motion hazard values for higher probability events (e.g.,1/500-year AEP), we should also ask whether the currently recommended design probabilities provide an acceptable level of seismic resilience to critical facilities (such as dams)and regular structures.
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Steven E Pells, Philip J N Pells
Junction reefs dam was designed in 1895 and constructed by 1897 as a multiple arch brick structure which was the first of its kind in Australia, and one of the earliest in the world. The dam was envisioned to provide mechanical and electrical power for gold mining. This paper provides an historical overview of the unique structure, and reassesses some of its engineering characteristics, such as the stress conditions in its unusual arches and reverse concrete gravity wing walls. The hydrology of the dam is re-assessed from the viewpoint of evaluating its potential as a mini hydro scheme. Commentary is also provided on the performance of its unlined spillway, which has been subject to regular spills for 120 years.
Gavan Hunter, David Jeffery and Stephen Chia
The Main Embankment at Tullaroop Dam in central Victoria is a 43 m high earthfill embankment with a very broad earthfill zone and rockfill zones at the outer toe regions. There has been an extensive history of cracking within the Main Embankment since formalisation of visual inspections in 1987.Widespread cracking has been observed on the crest and downstream shoulder. Cracking on the crest has mainly been longitudinal, but transverse cracks have also been observed. Cracking on the downstream shoulder has comprised longitudinal, diagonal and transverse cracking. In April 2004, a 60 mm wide diagonal crack opened on the downstream shoulder of the left abutment (from crest to toe) and Goulburn-Murray Water constructed a local filter buttress in 2005/06 on the left abutment. In 2011/12 a longitudinal crack opened up on the upper downstream berm toward the right abutment. The crack was initially 15m long and 10 to 215 mm wide, then propagated several months later to 70 m in length, 40 to 50 mm width and greater than 3 m in depth.In May 2011 three piezometers within the earth fill core recorded a very rapid rise in pore water pressure equivalent to 12 to 13 m pressure head above their previous readings. The piezometers were located on the same alignment (upstream to downstream) and were located below the crest and downstream shoulder, and the rise was to levels close to and above the embankment surface. The piezometers then showed a steady fall with time returning to the pre rise levels after 4 to 6 weeks.In 2015/16 Goulburn-Murray Water undertook dam safety upgrade works to reduce the risk of piping through the Main Embankment by extension of the filter buttress across the full width of the embankment. During these upgrade works, very deep (greater than 5 m) and extensive transverse cracks were observed in the embankment over relatively subtle slope changes on the right abutment.Thecracking and pore water pressure behaviour in the Main Embankment at Tullaroop Reservoir present an important case study. The paper provides details on the cracking and postulated crack mechanisms, and the rapid pore water pressure rise and postulated mechanisms. A summary of the upgrade works is also provided.
Alberto Scuero, Giovanna Lilliu, Marco Scarella, Gabriella Vaschetti
Hardfill dams present technical and cost advantages. Placement is like in embankment dams, thus construction is fast. The typical trapezoidal shape makes possible use of local aggregates and low cement content. Despite the low strength material, these dams can be built on weak foundation, and resist earthquake and overtopping. However, being the material semi-pervious, they require an impervious facing. Until 2014 this was typically made with conventional concrete slabs with waterstops, or grout enriched hardfill. Concrete facings require heavy and costly equipment, long construction time, are expensive, frequently require maintenance.Construction of the facing can have a big impact on the overall construction costs of the dam. Replacing the concrete facing with a geomembrane lining is a cost-effective solution. This paper describes two hardfill dams’ projects with an exposed geomembrane as upstream liner: Filiatrinos (Greece, 2015), 55.6 m high,and Ambarau(Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2017), 19.30 m high.
Zivko R. Terzic, Mark C. Quigley, Francisco Lopez
The Mt Bold Dam, located in the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia, is a 54m high concrete arch-gravity dam that impounds Adelaide’s largest reservoir. The dam site is located less than 500m from a suspected surface rupture trace of the Willunga fault.Preliminary assessments indicate that Mt Bold Dam is likely to be the dam with the highest seismic hazard in Australia, with the Flinders Ranges-Mt Lofty region experiencing earthquakes of sufficient magnitude to generate shaking damage every 8-10 years on average. Prior evidence suggests that the Willunga Fault is likely capable of generating M 7-7.2 earthquakes.As part of the South Australia Water Corporation (SA Water) portfolio of dams, Mt Bold Dam is regularly reviewed against the up-to-date dam safety guidelines and standards. SA Water commissioned GHD to undertake detailed site-specific geophysics, geotechnical and geomorphological investigations, and a detailed site-specific Seismic Hazard Assessment (SHA) of the Mt Bold Dam area. The results of this investigation will be used to inform decisions related to planned upgrade works of the dam.Geomorphological mapping of Willunga Fault, detailed geological mapping, analysis of airborne lidar data, geophysical seismic refraction tomography and seismic reflection surveys,and paleoseismic trenching and luminescence dating of faulted sediments was conducted to obtain input parameters for the site-specific SHA.Discrete single-event surface rupture displacements were estimated at ~60 cm at dam-proximal sites. The mean long-term recurrence interval (~37,000 yrs) is exceeded by the quiescent period since the most recent earthquake (~71,000 yrs ago) suggesting long-term variations in rupture frequency and slip rates and/or that the fault is in the late stage of a seismic cycle. The length-averaged slip rate for the entire Willunga Fault is estimated at 38 ± 13 m / Myr. Shear wave velocity (Vs30) of the dam foundations was estimated based on geotechnical data and geological models developed from geophysical surveys and boreholes drilled through the dam and into the foundation rock. The nearest seismic refraction tomography (SRT) lines were correlated with the boreholes and those velocity values used in the Vs30 parameter determination. All relevant input parameters were included into seismic hazard analysis with comprehensive treatment of epistemic uncertainties using logic trees for all inputs.Deterministic Seismic Hazard Analysis (DSHA) confirmed that the controlling fault source for the Mt Bold Dam site is Willunga Fault, which is located very close to main dam site (420m to the West).For more frequent seismic events (1 in 150, 1 in 500 and 1 in 1,000 AEP), the probabilistic analysis indicates that the main seismic hazard on the dam originates from the area seismic sources (background seismicity).Based on deaggregation analysis from the site specific Probabilistic Seismic Hazard (PSHA), the earthquakes capable of generating level of ground motion for the 1 in 10,000 AEP event can be expected to occur at mean distances of approximately 22km from the dam site(with the mean expected magnitude atMt Bold Damsite estimated at Mw >6).For less frequent (larger) seismic events, the contribution of the Willunga Fault to the seismic hazard of Mt Bold Dam can be clearly noted with Mode distance in the 0-5 km range, which indicates that most of the seismic hazard events larger than the 1 in 10,000 AEP comes from the Willunga Fault. The Mode magnitudes of the events are expected to be Mode Magnitude at Mw= 6.6 for a segmented Willunga Fault scenario, and Mw= 7.2 for a non-segmented fault scenario.Consideration was also given to the upcoming update of the ANCOLD Guidelines for Earthquake, which calls for the determination of the Maximum Credible Earthquake (MCE) on known faults for the Safety Evaluation Earthquake (SEE) of “Extreme” consequence category dams. The MCE for Mt Bold Dam was estimated from the DSHA; in terms of acceleration amplitude, the MCE event approximately equals the 1 in 50,000AEP seismic events.
Elaine Pang, Robert Fowden
There are numerous established methods available for assessing the consequences of failure for earthen water dams.The estimation of breach dimensions and failure times remains the greatest common area of uncertainty, particularly for dams under 10m in height, where the number of historic records behind the established methods reduces considerably.Also, various factors can have a significant impact on the strength of small dam embankments, potentially contributing to the likelihood of failure.Consequently, failure impact assessments for smaller dams may rely more heavily on the engineering judgement of the responsible engineer. Although the consequences of failure may indeed be lower for smaller dams, the large number of unknown or unregulated dams in some locations means that it can be difficult to quantify their overall contribution in terms of dam safety risk. This paper presents an on-going project to compile and analyse observed small earthen dam failures with the intent of refining existing statistical breach relationships for smaller dams.Context is provided through an overview of DEWS’ investigative program, including the presentation of several case studies which highlight field data collected throughout the program.