The Impact of Assumptions on Deterministic and Probabilistic Analyses of Earth Fill Embankments

Peter Waddell

This paper considers the impact of assumptions made when formulating analytic approaches to deterministic and probabilistic analyses of slope stability. The assumptions reviewed were presented in a paper, Waddell (2023) that presented semi-quantitative stability assessment using survey data, deterministic and probabilistic slope stability analyses of fill embankments constructed from residual soil and weathered bedrock in Western Sydney. A single variable fill strength was adopted, that was obtained from an Infinite Slope analysis assuming fully saturated fill. Rainfall records were used to predict risk of saturation to calculate annual probability of slope failure. The impacts of assumptions used to calculate the strength parameter, factor of safety and predicted failure probability are addressed in this paper. Saturation assumptions, the choice of limit equilibrium model, shape of the probability distribution functions, and spatial correlation of material properties are considered.