News Article

Stability and Stress-Deformation Analyses of Reinforced Slope Failure at Yeager Airport

James G. Collin, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE; Timothy D. Stark, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE; Augusto Lucarelli, M.ASCE; Thomas P. Taylor, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, and Ryan R. Berg, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE

Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 147, Issue 3 (March 2021), American Society of Civil Engineers


This paper describes the material properties along with the inverse limit-equilibrium and permanent deformation analyses used to investigate the 2015 reinforced slope failure at the Yeager Airport near Charleston, West Virginia. Inverse two-dimensional (2D) limit-equilibrium analyses were first performed to evaluate laboratory-derived strength parameters, slope geometry, and soil reinforcement configuration that would reproduce the observed critical failure surface. Because of the shape of the reinforced soil slope (RSS) (outside radius), the impact of the direction of the uniaxial geogrid reinforcement, varying from parallel to almost perpendicular to the direction of sliding, was analyzed using a three-dimensional (3D) limit-equilibrium analysis. Finite-difference permanent deformation analyses were also conducted to understand the internal stresses and deformations of the RSS prior to failure and kinematics of the slope failure. The results of these various analyses are consistent with postfailure field observations and demonstrate the value of performing multiple types of analyses, e.g., 2D and 3D limit-equilibrium and permanent deformation analyses, when analyzing a complex slope failure.

This paper is accessible here:

Stage 4a failure mechanism using FLAC3D.
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