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Stability of tailings dams under static and seismic loading

Prodromos Psarropoulos , Yiannis Tsompanakis

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Year 2008
Type of Item Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication
Bibliographic Citation P.s Psarropoulos ,Y. Tsompanakis ," Stability of tailings dams under static and seismic loading," Can. Geot. J. ,vol 45 ,no. 5, pp. 663-675. doi: 10.1139/T08-014
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The stability of tailings dams has drawn much attention over the past few decades as a significant number of tailings dam failures have been recorded worldwide. The present study focuses on the investigation of the behavior and the stability of this kind of earth structure under static and dynamic loading. To accomplish this task, elaborate two-dimensional numerical simulations are conducted, utilizing two widely used geotechnical finite element codes. Initially, numerical analyses are performed for three typical types of tailings dams to obtain the potential modes of slope instability by determining the corresponding factors of safety under static conditions. Subsequently the dynamic distress of tailings dams is thoroughly investigated in terms of inertial accelerations developed. Based on the models examined under static loading, dynamic analyses are performed to examine the effects of local site conditions on the seismic response of tailings dams, and therefore on their inertial distress. Emphasis is given to the special characteristics of the ground motion, whereas the material nonlinearity of both soil and tailings is taken into account by an efficient equivalent-linear procedure.