Thermal interaction in shear bands: the Vajont landslide
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The localization of strains in landslide shearing surfaces may induce relevant weakening processes due to the thermal pressurization of the pore water filling the pores. The associate reduction in strength can explain the velocity and sudden acceleration observed in some cases. The physical phenomenon, also invoked in the field of earthquake in the study of fault slips, consists in the dissipation in heat of the frictional work. The heating results in the dilation of soil skeleton and water which may lead to the pore water pressurization. Due to the reduction on the resistant forces, the landslide accelerates and the phenomenon may become self-feeding, triggering an accelerated motion with catastrophic consequences in some cases. This chapter presents an MPM analysis of thermal effects on landslide mobility. The fundamental theory and constitutive equations and their implementation in MPM are developed and described in detail. A direct approach of the problem exhibited a pathological dependency of the results with the computational mesh, which is a consequence of the relevant effect of the shear band thickness to the generation and dissipation of energy and water pressure. The chapter presents a numerical procedure to overcome such dependency and its implementation in the MPM framework. Finally, the famous case of Vajont landslide, occurred in Italy in 1963, that reached a velocity of approximately 100 km/h after 400 m of displacement is modelled. Unlike previous works, the case is analysed including thermal interactions without defining a priori the position of the sliding surfaces where heating effects develop.
CitationAlvarado, M.; Pinyol, N.M.; Alonso, E. Thermal interaction in shear bands: the Vajont landslide. A: "The Material Point Method for geotechnical engineering: a practical guide". CRC Press, 2019, p. 245-269.
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