R.J. Mitchell, K.K. Tsui, D.A. Sangrey


The results of model tests, carried out to evaluate the stability of submarine slopes under wave action are presented. A Bentonite clay was sedimented in a glass walled tank 6 feet long by 0.5 feet wide by 2.5 feet deep. The sedimentation and consolidation processes were studied and sediment densities were measured at various depths in the profile. Vane shear strength profiles were also measured afvarious average degrees of consolidation. Plastic markers were placed in the sediment adjacent to a glass wall so that the soil movements under both gravity and wave induced slides could be documented by photography. Dimensional similitude is discussed and the model test data are presented in a dimensionless form. All instabilities were observed to be of the infinite slope type. Analysis of the data shows that wave action is instrumental in initiating downslope mass movements in gently to steeply sloping off-shore sediments. General lack of agreement between the model test results and published theoretical analyses was found but there was close similarity in the depths and form of failure under wave action and under gravity stresses alone. The loss of stability under wave action is analyzed on the concept that failure is gravity controlled and the soil strength is reduced to a value commensurate with gravity sliding by the cyclic shearing stresses imposed by progressive waves. A method of evaluating the stability of prototype slopes using a model test correlation and field vane strength measurements is proposed.


slope; slope failure

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