Earthquake-induced displacements of earth dams and embankments

Hendra Jitno and Richard Davidson


This paper presents an overview of some of the available methods to estimate earth dam displacements due to earthquakes, from the simple Newmark one-dimensional displacement method to a complex coupled effective stress dynamic analysis. It discusses the assumptions used, advantages and limitations of each method. The use of pseudo-static analysis for assessing seismic stability of earth structures is critically reviewed. An example on the use of total stress dynamic analysis in the seismic upgrade work of Yarrawonga Weir in Victoria is presented. The dynamic analyses were very useful in providing an indication of possible flow failure, crack development during earthquake shaking and the potential for loss of freeboard of the earth dam. The method was also very useful to assess the most efficient remedial method that satisfies all the imposed requirements from the community and the client.