2014 – Nonlinear Time-History Seismic Assessment of 112-Year-Old Barossa Dam

Francisco Lopez and Michael McKay

At 36 m high and completed in 1902, Barossa Dam is one of the first true concrete arch dams in the world. During the 1954 Darlington Earthquake the dam sustained some damage, in the form of several vertical cracks on both dam’s abutments. In 2013, GHD conducted a nonlinear time-history seismic assessment of Barossa Dam. The analyses, carried out using finite element techniques, included ground motion loading corresponding to Maximum Design Earthquakes (MDEs) with 1 in 10,000 Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP).

This paper will explain the purpose of the study, the material investigation phase, the methodology, model results, the anticipated seismic behaviour of the dam wall, as well as the predicted level of damage under the MDEs. The paper examines the dam construction practices of the beginning of the 20th century, and how such practices affected the material properties and the structural performance of Barossa Dam.


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