Internal erosion under spillway rested on an embankment dam

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Prof. Soil Science, College of Agriculture, Yasouj University

2 Assistant Professor, Civil Eng Dept, Faculty of Engineering, Yasouj University, Yasouj, Iran

3 Department of Watershed Management, Faculty of Natural Resources, Yasouj University, Yasouj, Iran.

4 Research Engineer, Mexican Institute of Water Technology, Paseo Cuauhnahuac 8532, Jiutepec‎


In this paper we investigate the mechanism of internal erosion caused in the right abutment of the Shahghasem dam’s spillway. Shahghasem dam is an earthen dam located in Yasouj, in southwest of Iran. A significant hole and pipe have been observed in the corner of the right abutment from upstream view. The foundation is Marlstone, which has low cohesion and susceptible for internal erosion and piping in some conditions. Going through details of the design maps has shown that Lane’s criteria for selecting safe dimensions of the seepage control measures have not been considered properly. A series of the supportive walls are designed to attach to the right part of the spillway in order to increase the length of seepage. The pipe route of the erosion should also be grouted with high quality concrete.


[1] Bonelli, S., & Brivois, O. (2008). The scaling
law in the hole erosion test with a constant
pressure drop. International Journal of
Numerical for Analytical and Mathematical in
Geomechanics, 32, 1573–1595.
[2] Flores-Berrones, R., Ramírez-Reynaga, M., &
Macari, E. (2011). Internal Erosion and
Rehabilitation of an Earth-Rock Dam. Journal
of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental
Engineering, 137(2), 150–160.
[3] Casagrande, A. (1968). Notes of engineering 262 course, Vol. I, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, Mass./Beijing International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), Paris, 237–260 (Question 76).
[4] Flores-Berrones, R., & Lopez-Acosta, N.P. (2011). Internal Erosion Due to Water Flow Through Earth Dams and Earth Structures, Soil Erosion Studies, Danilo Godone (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-710-9, InTech, DOI: 10.5772/24615.
[5] Sedghi-Asl, M., Rahimi, H., & Khaleghi, H. (2010). Experimental analysis of seepage flow under coastal dikes. Experimental Techniques, 34(4), 49–54.
[6] Sedghi-Asl, M., Rahimi, H., & Khaleghi, H. (2012). Laboratory investigation of the seepage control measures under coastal dikes. Experimental Techniques, 36(1), 61-71.
[7] Terzaghi, K. (1943). Theoretical Soil Mechanics. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
[8] Lane, E.W. (1935). Security from under-seepage masonry dams on earth foundations. Transaction of ASCE, 60(4), 929–966.
[9] Sherard, J.L., Woodward, R.J., Gizienski, S.F., & Clevenger, W.A. (1963). Earth and earth-rock dams, engineering problems of design and construction. Wiley, New York, pp 114–130.
[10] Richards, K.S., & Reddy, K.R. (2007). Critical appraisal of piping phenomena in earth dams. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and Environment, 66, 381-402.
[11] Fell, R., & Fry, J-J. (2007). Internal Erosion of Dams and Their Foundations. Taylor & Francis, London.
[12] Bligh, W.G. (1910). Dams, barrages and weirs on porous foundations Engineering News. 64(26), 708–710.
[13] Leliavsky, S. (1965). Design Text Book in Civil Engineering: Design of Dams for percolation and Erosion. Chapman and Hall press.
[14] Tanaka, T., Takashima, W., Pham, T. T. H., Utra, K., & Uemura, N. (2012). A case study on seepage failure of bottom soil within a double-sheet-pile-wall-type ditch. ICSE6 Paris, August 27-31.
[15] Chen, L., Zhao, J., Li, G., Zhan, L., & Lei W. (2013). Experimental Study of Seawall Piping under Water Level Fluctuation. European Journal of Environment and Civil Engineering, 17 (sup1), 1-22.
[16] Fleshman, M., & Rice, J. (2014). Laboratory Modeling of the Mechanisms of Piping Erosion Initiation. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 140(6), 0401-4017.
[17] Sharif, Y., Elkholy, M., Hanif Chaudhry, M., & Imran, J. (2015). Experimental Study on the Piping Erosion Process in Earthen Embankments. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 141(7), 04015012.
[18] Elkholy, M., Sharif, Y., Hanif Chaudhry, M., & Imran, J. (2015). Effect of Soil Composition on Piping of Earthen Levees. Journal of Hydraulic Research, 53(4), 478-487.
[19] Mesri, G. & Cepeda-Diaz, F. (1986). Residual shear strength of clays and shales. Géotechnique, 36(2), 269–274.