NEHRP Clearinghouse

The Performance of Earth Dams During Earthquakes.
Seed, H. B.; Makdisi, F. I.; de Alba, P.
National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., August 1977, 58 p.
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In the design of embankments against earthquakes in addition to the proper use and understanding of the material properties and behavior during seismic loading, and in addition to the proper use of analytical procedures to estimate the dynamic response, considerable insight and judgment are required. This can only be gained through an intimate knowledge of the strengths and limitations of the analysis and testing procedures themselves, and by studying the behavior of similar embankments during actual earthquake loading conditions. The purpose of this report is to summarize available information concerning the behavior of dams subjected to strong earthquake shaking. The report is intended to complement an initial review by Ambraseys (1960) by presenting further details concerning embankment construction materials and procedures and performance records in earthquakes during the past 17 years. The salient features of observed embankment performance are summarized, mainly for six major earthquakes, and conclusions are drawn which may aid the design engineer in making more meaningful evaluations of the data provided by analytical design procedures.
Embankments; Seismic loads; Earth movements; Seismic epicenter; Dynamic response; Ground motion; Earthquake engineering; Earth dams; Loads (Forces); Earthquakes; Dynamic structural analysis