2022 – Strain and Crack Propagation Analysis to Inform on Depth of Filtering: Upper Yarra Dam Safety Upgrade

Stephen Chia -AECOM Australia Pty Ltd, Ke He – Pells Sullivan Meynink (PSM) Pty Ltd, Gavan Hunter – Hunter Geotechnical Pty Ltd

A key failure mode for unfiltered earthen embankment dams is the initiation of internal erosion through a defect, leading to piping failure. When reviewing the dam safety of existing earthen embankments, and in the development of dam safety upgrade works (if required), an understanding of the areas and extents of the embankment susceptible to the formation of potential defects is required.

This paper presents analyses undertaken to evaluate the potential for cracking and hydraulic fracture in the earthfill core of Upper Yarra Dam; a 65-year-old, 90 m high, earth and rockfill dam. The analyses included modelling of during construction, post-construction, and earthquake-induced deformations, and crack propagation modelling. The paper works through the numerical deformation modelling methods, assumptions, results, comparison to actual deformation for selected cases, and then the crack propagation analysis.

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