Horizontal Translational Failures of Levees due to Water Filled gaps

Van, M. A., Zwanenburg, C., van Esch, J. M., Sharp, M. K., & Mosher, P. R. L. (2008). Horizontal translational failures of levees due to water filled gaps. In Proc. 6 th Int. Conf. on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering, Arlington, VA (pp. 1-7).


In the summer of 2003, a peat dike at Wilnis in the Netherlands failed during a very dry period. The failure mode was not a Bishop type circular failure used in routine dike stability analyses in The Netherlands (figure 1). The failed dike segment was displaced horizontally over 6 m. The failure plane was found to lie at the boundary between peat and the underlying sand. It was concluded that a chain of events including weight loss and shrinkage of the peat, due to the dry weather conditions, are considered important factors causing failure. Analyses of peat behaviour made it clear that several processes, controlled by hydrological conditions in the unsaturated and saturated zones in the embankment, resulted in fracturing of the peat.