Dynamic slope stability and geomorphological site effects : Numerical simulations and back analysis

Abstract : In this research work, numerical simulations using the finite difference FLAC software (Itasca) were first conducted with a homogeneous linear elastic slope model in order to characterize the acceleration amplification along the slope surface and behind the slope crest, and then to evaluate the topographic effect on the acceleration amplification. The interaction between the frequency of the seismic input motion applied at the base of the model with the slope angle and height has been deeply investigated. It was found that significant changes in the acceleration amplification factor result from variations in the slope angle and height as well as the signal frequency and duration. In addition, it has been shown that the ground motion amplification due to slope topography result from complex coupling effects between the input waves and the reflected waves on the topographic features and is highly controlled by the ratio between the wavelength of the input signal and the slope height.Numerical simulations are based on geotechnical investigations and geotechnical modeling, and it is necessary to validate the results through comparisons between modeling results and field observations. Frequency domain analysis such as spectral density and frequency response are an effective way to understand process characteristics and the various phenomena that cannot be explained in the time domain. For this purpose, a case study at Xishan Park ridge in Zigong in China has been studied. Site amplifications associated with the ground motion produced by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake have been evaluated using the Standard Spectral Ratio (SSR) technique and root-mean-square acceleration (arms) method in time domain. 2D numerical analysis using finite difference method using the FLAC software (Itasca) has been then performed and results have been compared with monitoring data. The “simulated” peaks of the spectral amplifications are always lower than those derived from the field records. The strong attenuation of input motion at high frequencies highlights the shortcoming that a signal damping ratio does not adequately represent the energy dissipation in numerical simulations. Significant amplifications occurred at high frequencies (>10 Hz) and are considered to result from local specific conditions such as rock fracturing and ridge steps; thus they do not necessarily occur at the top of the hill. Finally, parametric studies were performed with elastic models in terms of various 2D slope geometries and geological layers to characterize the ground motion amplifications. The purpose of the parametric analysis is to understand the role of the geological layer, slope angle and slope height on the ground motion amplification, and thus to estimate if site amplifications could be responsible for the triggering of landslide. Then, the dynamic analysis on the slope model for different seismic magnitudes was performed and a slope failure based on displacement was created to evaluate the Las Colinas slope stability in Salvador. The numerical results clearly showed that site effects can have induced significant ground motion amplifications that contributed to trigger landslides.
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Zezhong Zhang. Dynamic slope stability and geomorphological site effects : Numerical simulations and back analysis. Earth Sciences. PSL Research University, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018PSLEM074⟩. ⟨tel-02196802⟩

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