2009 – Investigation and development of a geotechnical model for the Wyaralong Dam site, Queensland

Amanda Barrett, Mike Marley, Tariq Rahiman

The site of the Wyaralong Dam, west of Beaudesert, Queensland, has been investigated in progressive stages since 1991. The first stage of the investigation was a siting study and the second in 2006 was designed to gather sufficient geotechnical information to develop a preliminary design and provide input into the environmental approval process. The third stage of the investigation was designed to gather further information to allow the detailed design of the dam to commence. This iterative investigation approach has ensured confidence in the site geology and geotechnical model.

The site investigations have included diamond drilling, piezo-cone penetration testing, geophysics techniques, hydraulic conductivity testing, groundwater pumping tests, costean excavation, geological mapping and accompanying laboratory test programs. Investigations have been targeted to assess the foundation conditions for the proposed engineering structure and have been refined to the needs of the dam design as it has developed.

With sufficient data, a 3-dimensional geotechnical model has been developed using the computer modelling program Vulcan, to assess the position and influence of a number of key geological features observed in the site investigation. Assessment of engineering properties based on in situ and laboratory testing were then extrapolated across the site through application of the geotechnical model.

Keywords: Wyaralong Dam, geotechnical investigation, geology, 3-D Vulcan model, foundation.

Buy this resource