On some uncertainties related to static liquefaction triggering assessments

David Reid, Simon Dickinson, Utkarsh Mital, Riccardo Fanni, Andy Fourie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


Static liquefaction has been identified as the cause of several recent tailings storage facility (TSF) failures. Partially based on the investigations carried out, significant advances on the analysis of static liquefaction triggering have been made. This includes application of critical state-based models in a stress-deformation framework to identify if in situ conditions are approaching a level where triggering could occur. However, several important uncertainties remain. The current work investigates three of these uncertainties and their effect (both independently, and in conjunction) on the identification of static liquefaction triggering and slope failure: geostatic stress ratio K0, intermediate principal stress ratio, and principal stress angle from vertical. These uncertainties are examined through a series of numerical analyses of an idealised TSF. Various values of K0 are used to examine their effect on triggering, while different approaches to the potential effect of intermediate principal stress ratio and principal stress angle from vertical on instability are taken. This work shows that current state of knowledge in these areas is such that significant uncertainty seems unavoidable in attempting to identify exactly when a particular slope may undergo static liquefaction triggering. Experimental and in situ test programs that may be useful in reducing this uncertainty are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-199
Number of pages19
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Geotechnical Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date17 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


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