Regional Approach to Landslide Interpretation and Repair, TR-430, 2001

(2001) Regional Approach to Landslide Interpretation and Repair, TR-430, 2001. Transportation, Department of


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The objective of this report is to provide Iowa county engineers and highway maintenance personnel with procedures that will allow them to efficiently and effectively interpret and repair or avoid landslides. The research provides an overview of basic slope stability analyses that can be used to diagnose the cause and effect associated with a slope failure. Field evidence for identifying active or potential slope stability problems is outlined. A survey of county engineers provided data for presenting a slope stability risk map for the state of Iowa. Areas of high risk are along the western border and southeastern portion of the state. These regions contain deep to moderately deep loess. The central portion of the state is a low risk area where the surficial soils are glacial till or thin loess over till. In this region, the landslides appear to occur predominately in backslopes along deeply incised major rivers, such as the Des Moines River, or in foreslopes. The south-central portion of the state is an area of medium risk where failures are associated with steep backslopes and improperly compacted foreslopes. Soil shear strength data compiled from the Iowa DOT and consulting engineers files are correlated with geologic parent materials and mean values of shear strength parameters and unit weights were computed for glacial till, friable loess, plastic loess and local alluvium. Statistical tests demonstrate that friction angles and unit weights differ significantly but in some cases effective stress cohesion intercept and undrained shear strength data do not. Moreover, effective stress cohesion intercept and undrained shear strength data show a high degree of variability. The shear strength and unit weight data are used in slope stability analyses for both drained and undrained conditions to generate curves that can be used for a preliminary evaluation of the relative stability of slopes within the four materials. Reconnaissance trips to over fifty active and repaired landslides in Iowa suggest that, in general, landslides in Iowa are relatively shallow [i.e., failure surfaces less than 6 ft (2 m) deep] and are either translational or shallow rational. Two foreslope and two backslope failure case histories provide additional insights into slope stability problems and repair in Iowa. These include the observation that embankment soils compacted to less than 95% relative density show a marked strength decrease from soils at or above that density. Foreslopes constructed of soils derived from shale exhibit loss of strength as a result of weathering. In some situations, multiple causes of instability can be discerned from back analyses with the slope stability program XSTABL. In areas where the stratigraphy consists of loess over till or till over bedrock, the geologic contracts act as surfaces of groundwater accumulation that contribute to slope instability.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Case studies, Density, Embankments, Glacial soils, Landslides, Loess, Mapping, Repairing, Risk assessment, Shale, Shear strength, Slope stability, Till, Weathering
Subjects: Transportation
Transportation > Roads and highways
Transportation > Traffic safety
Transportation > Research
ID Code: 16407
Deposited By: Iowa DOT Library
Deposited On: 18 Mar 2014 20:35
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2014 15:56