A curved embankment (corner) of an upstream tailings dam was analyzed with the finite element method to identify possible zones of low compressive stresses susceptible to hydraulic fracturing that might initiate internal erosion. The embankment was also analyzed as a straight section, with the same cross section as in the corner, in order to compare compressive stresses in the corner and the straight section. The analysis showed that in comparison to the straight section of the dam, the compressive stresses in the corner were (i) much lower above the phreatic level, in the rockfill banks and the filter zones, and (ii) fairly lower below the phreatic level. The rockfill and the filter contain coarse materials, which are not sensitive to hydraulic fracturing and internal erosion. An increase in radius of the corner is proposed to avoid too low compressive stresses that may develop due to future raisings. The slope stability analysis showed that the corner is currently stable, but an additional rock fill bank on the downstream toe is required for future raisings.
|Tidskrift||Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering|