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.
Mojtaba E. Kan, Hossein A. Taiebat and Mahdi Taiebat
In design of new embankment dams or evaluation of the performance of existing earthfill and rockfill dams, the Newmark-type Simplified Methods are widely used to estimate the earthquake-induced displacements. These methods are simple, inexpensive, and substantially less time consuming as compared to the complicated stress–deformation approaches. They are especially recommended by technical guidelines to be used as a screening tool, to identify embankments with marginal factor of safety. The methods would serve as a reliable screening tool had they always resulted in conservative estimates of settlements. However, a number of studies in the last 15 years show the contrary. This paper provides a critical review of the fundamental theory behind the simplified Newmark-type methods. Cases in which the results of the simplified methods are reportedly non conservative are further investigated and possible reasons are discussed, that may be taken into account in future design and investigations of Australian dams. The reliability of the simplified methods is examined based on the existing thresholds proposed in the literature and accounting for the embankment geometry and type, and for the seismic activity characterization. A recently proposed practical framework is further elaborated to demonstrate its effectiveness in the study of seismic behaviour of embankment dams. In particular, the case study of Zipingpu concrete faced rockfill dam in China is discussed where all widely used simplified procedures failed to predict the order of deformations experienced by the Dam under a recent strong earthquake event.
Andrew Balme, Dan Forster, Tim Logan
The MW7.8 Kaikōura earthquake on 14 November 2016, ruptured over 20 faults during the initial shaking,which lasted nearly two minutes. A complex series of fault ruptures propagated northeast for nearly 180 km from the initial rupture location. Instrumentation from dams across New Zealand shows that whilst most dams did not suffer physical damage, piezometric responses were measured in dams and their foundations. Earthquake related changes in seepage regimes are not unusual and depend on the characteristics of the ground motions,and site specific characteristics that influence how a dam and its foundation respond to ground motions. The ability to measure a piezometric response in a dam or foundation is heavily influenced by the instrumentation network and method of monitoring. Data collected during events such as the Kaikōura earthquake provides valuable information for both characterising performance of a dam during the event, and assisting future analysis such as failure mode assessments. Careful consideration must be given to the scope of installed instrumentation and the frequency of monitoring in order to provide these benefits,and the robustness of the system to ensure it adequately survives the event.
Although the total tailings dam failure frequency peaked in 1960s through 1980s, the failure rate of significant tailings dams has not dropped. The significant tailings dam failures the mining industry experienced in the recent history include: Merriespruit, South Africa, 1994; Los Frails, Spain, 1998; Kolontár, Hungry, 2010; Mount Polley, Canada, 2014; and Samarco, Brazil, 2015. The dam failures may be due to inadequate design, poor construction and inappropriate operations.This paper discusses the lessons learned and some recommendations and good practices to reduce the tailings dam failure risks. It addresses existing issues and provides some recommendations in risk based design, water management-integrity of facilities and water balance modelling, loading rates, tailings farming, adequate governance and roles and responsibilities of designers and nominated engineer.
Dr Andy Hughes
Tailings dams continue to undergo failures at an unacceptable rate compared to water storage dams, including failures at operations owned by high profile mining companies.Tailings dams have often a different form and method of construction than water storage dams in that tailings dams continue to be raised over time as part of the mine operations and rise to considerable heights. These failures are often the result of a combination of design, construction and operations actions that are controlled by humans and must be better coordinated and managed in the future. The consequence of failure can be widespread flows of tailings and water over the landscape and water courses. This can have extreme consequences in terms of life loss, environmental damage, social license to operate, company value, and mining industry sustainability. Therefore,it is necessary that the mining industry strive for zero failures of tailings facilities. Any additional technology and information that enables an owner of a tailings dam to be more certain of its condition and thereby reduce the risk of failure is of tremendous value to reliable tailings and mine water management.The Willowstick method uses low voltage, low amperage, and alternating electrical current to directly energise the groundwater by way of electrodes placed in wells or in contact with seepage or leaks. This approach has been successfully used to identify water flow paths through, under and around tailings dam in plan and elevation.The Willowstick technology provides additional information to supplement the geological, geotechnical and hydrological, evaluations analyses and designs, and to further improve tailings dam safety by more robust designs if necessary. This paper, using several tailings dam case studies, illustrates the procedure, findings, and the benefits of the Willowstick methodology. The findings of many Willowstick surveys range from tailings dams where the methodology has confirmed the design evaluations, to tailings dams where new groundwater and leakage flow paths were identified. In the latter case, the dam designers were able to update the designs, based on the new information,to mitigate the identified risks and to improve the overall safety of the tailings dams in accordance with the goal of zero failure.
Andrew Northfield, Simon Lang, Peter Hill
Melbourne Water currently manages more than230retarding basins (RBs). A large portion of these are less than 4 metres high, and traditionally structures of this size have not been subject to intermediate or detailed ANCOLD Consequence Assessments. However, the need to understand the failure consequences for smaller structures has increased over time, as risk based approaches to managing safety have expanded from large dams to other water retaining assets.
Undertaking detailed consequence assessments for all Melbourne Water’s RBs would not be practical, given the costs and time involved. Therefore, this paper describes a method for assessing the level of ANCOLD Consequence Assessment that is justified, based on the structure’s attributes. It also presents an equation that was used to estimate peak outflows from RB failure. The peak outflow estimates can be used to model approximate failure inundation extents downstream of small dams and RBs.
The paper draws on work that HARC have recently undertaken for Melbourne Water to assess the failure consequences for 88 RBs. The outcomes are relevant to other organisations that own or manage significant numbers of small water dams or RBs.