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Case histories

Peat

Kostas Symeonidis
6-Mar-2012

MSc Engineering Geology 2011

Outline
Introduction

Case history: Wilnis peat dyke


breach, 26-Aug-2003, Netherland

Peat and organic soils

Discussion
Global distribution
Conclusions

Classification
Accumulation and development

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen


peatslide, North Wales

Engineering geology of peat

Discussion

Engineering properties of peat

Conclusions

Engineering in peat

References

Introduction
Peat: is an accumulation of plant remains
that has undergone some degree of
decomposition. Inorganic soil material may
occur as secondary constituents in peat
(Bell, 2007).
In geotechnics peat and other organic soils
are defined by the amount of organic
matter in terms of ash content (Ac%)
based on the assumption that organic
matter (100-Ac%) is combustible while the
mineral content is incombustible and ash
forming (Landva et al, 1983).

Photomicrograph of a
poriferous cellular
peat particle (Terzaghi
et al, 1996)

Peat as an energy source


A 40mm thick layer
of peat milled from
the surface and left
to dry under the
sun.

(WEC, 2007)

Peat stage of coal series

The energy
content of in-situ
peat depends on
its moisture and
ash contents.
Usually it is
up to 22MJ/kg.
(Blyth and de Freitas, 2005)

It estimated that 1m thickness coal seam


corresponds to 15m thick peat.

Peat and Organic soils


Organic soils can identified by their
combustibility. They are formed by the
decomposition of plant and animal remnants.

The process of humus production is called


humification/decomposition: the loss of
organic matter either in gas or in solution, the
disappearance of physical structure and the
change in chemical state (Kazemian et al,
2011).

In dry areas decomposition is rapid and


restricted in the topsoil.
In swampy areas the process is slower as the
lack of oxygen delays the oxidation. The
decay proceed in the form of fermentation
and putrefaction.

Larsson, 1996 (after Hallden, 1961)

Peat: originates from plants and indicates the


various stages in humification process where
plant structure is still distinguished.
Dy: indicates the stage where the plant
structure is completely destroyed.
Gyttja: originates from plants and animals.
4

Global distribution

Peatland: is an area with or


without vegetation with a
naturally accumulated peat
layer at the surface (Clarke and
Joosten, 2002). They are
usually defined as wetlands
having >40cm peat layer.

Peatlands cover about 5 million


square
kilometers
globally,
containing 1/3 of the global soil
carbon and 10% of the global
freshwater (Bartalev et al.,
2004a, b).

Mineral wetlands: are those


wetlands having <40cm peat.

Martini, Martnez Cortizas


and Chesworth (editors) (2006)

Classification I Principal environments


Principal types of peat forming ecosystems:
Fens: have the water table at or just below
the surface. The waters originate from
mineral soils. Characterized as minerotrophic
or rheotrophic, low level mires supplied with
water and mineral nutrients from
groundwater.
Bogs: have the water table at or near the
surface. Unaffected by groundwater.
Characterized as ombotrophic, or upland
mires, dependent entirely upon precipitation.
Waterlogged, spongy ground containing
acidic decaying vegetation.
Swamps: have standing water or water
gently flowing through pools and channels.
Characterized as minerotrophic
Marshes: are periodically inundated by
standing or slowly-moving. Surface water
levels may fluctuate seasonally.
Characterized as minerotrophic

Fen, lowland mire

(Warner and Rubec, 1997)

Bog, upland mire

(Warner and Rubec, 1997)

Classification II Peat formations


Main peat formations:

Raised bog peat

Fen peat

Peat flow

Blanket bog peat

Hill peat

Basin peat

Raised bog
sphagnum mosses
peat
peat

fen plants and


sedges peat

Natural Water
Drainage pipes

(http://www.richkni.co.uk, 2012)

(geograph.org.uk)

Peat flow

Bog burst due to excess


water retention

Fen peat

Blanket bog peat

(http://www.blanketbogswales.org/)
(geograph.org.uk)

Accumulation and development I

Accumulation depends on factors like:

climate,
topography,
superfluity of water
geological conditions in terms of nutrient
source availability.
Mires are not static even in stable conditions
under the impetus of vegetational succession
are in a continual development.
Hydrosere development: is the slow and
autogenic process of change from open swamp
to raised bog.

Peat accumulation takes place when the rate


of addition of matter exceeds the rate of decay.
The rate of peat accumulation is not uniform
over time and can vary greatly within the peat
(Hobbs, 1984)
deposit.
Oxygen availability decrease = rate of decay decrease: Surface Under water, Near
surface (acrotelm) Under water submerged (catotelm)

Accumulation and development II


Model of typical autogenic raided bog development
(Lindsay, 1995):
water filled
depression

Model of typical blanket


peat

initial
bog peat

partially
fen peat

raised
bog peat
complete
fen peat

raised
bog peat with
marginal fen

www.irelandstory.com

Engineering geology of peat Environments I


Coastal

1. Coast advances
into the basin

PEAT

PEAT

Marine

E
Sea regression

2. Sea transgression
results in mire development
(Johnson, 2004)

Retreating
glacier

Glacial

(Johnson, 2004)

Multiple dep. environments + sensitivity to changes


(climatic changes, sea level changes, glacial
advance or retreat) complexity + variability in
nature and extend of peat formations

PEAT

(McMillan and Powell, 1999)

10

Engineering geology of peat Environments II

PEAT

Fluvial

Lacustrine
PEAT

PEAT

Estuary
(McMillan and Powell, 1999)

11

Engineering geology of peat Environments III


(Hobbs, 1984)

Also, coastal
and estuarine
marshes
Abundant
moisture low
evaporation

Deposition of
wood pine
peat and
sphagnum
peat

BOG PEAT

Increasingly
drier conditions

Deposition of
wood peat

May be
subjected to
seasonal
flooding
(marsh)

Gradual
water flow
impedance

Sedentary
deposition

Sedimentary and
sedentary deposition

Deposition of
sedge peat

FEN PEAT

Deposition of clay, silt,


coarse detritus mud and
sedentary reed peat.
Under lime-rich conditions
also deposition of
calcareous marl

Water flow input


by streams and
run-off from lake
banks

Sedimentary and
sedentary
deposition

Deposition starts
with inorganic silts
and clays that
become
increasingly
organic. Eventually
fine detritus mud
accumulates

12

Engineering geology of peat Environments IV


The corresponding stratigraphy
from these the open shallow lake
(limnic) or marsh (telmcatic) stage
to the raised bog stage.
This normal mire development is
encountered in environments:

Inland/upland shallow basin


Lowland coastal mires

A climatic shift to drier conditions


would not affect limnic peats but
would intensify the decomposition
of fen peats.

In general the peat stratigraphy is


horizontal with relative uniform
vertical characteristics.
(Hobbs, 1984)

13

Engineering geology of peat Hazards


Peat and organic soils can be hazardous to
engineering works, due to their nature
(Milligan et al, 2005):

Peat and organic soils can be hazardous to


engineering works, also due to their
complexity as geological formations:

Highly compressible and subject to severe


long term creep.

Peat is very young and belongs almost


entirely to the Quaternary.

Often width very low unit weight.

Methane gas may be present.

Cause very large settlements to


foundations and embankments

Sensitive to changes in surface drainage


caused by river capture, landslides, erosion
and deposition that either increase or
decrease water supply to the mire.

Slope stability problems caused by their


low passive resistance

Peats formed in early post-glacial times


may occur at depth, buried beneath more
recent sediments.

Non-saturated peat may float when


flooded.

Peat wastage when exposed and subjected


to drying. By lowering the water table that
permit the entry of oxygen into a formerly
anaerobic zone. Can cause settlement.

Buried in depressions from glacial


processes (blocked by bedrock or drift).
Buried in depressions from fluvial and
coastal processes (abandoned channels,
oxbow lakes, flood-plain depressions,
shoreline strand plains and protected
embayment or lagoons).
14

Engineering geology of peat Field Identification


In practice the identification and classification
of peat depends on structure and consistency
and on the test according to von Post (1924).

For many engineering purposes three coarse


division are used in field identification:
Fibrous peat: low humified with distinct
plant structure. Brown to brownish yellow
in color, if squeezed it gives brown to
colorless water without any peat matter.
The remaining material has a fibrous
structure. Degree of decomposition H1-H4.
(Kazamian et al, 2011)

Fibrous

Hemic

Sapric

Pseudo-fibrous/hemic peat: moderate


humified relative distinct to indistinct plant
structure. Usually brown, if squeezed less
than half pass between the fingers. The
rest has a mushy consistency but with
distinct plant structure. Degree of
decomposition H5-H7.
Amorphous/sapric peat: highly humified
with indistinct plant structure. Usually
brown-black, if squeezed more than half
pass between the fingers without free
water running out. Only few solid
components like root fibers can be felt.
Degree of decomposition H8-H10.

(Kazamian et al, 2011)

15

Engineering geology of peat In situ description

Degrees of humification (decomposition) according to von Post (Larsson, 1996)

Detail classification of a peat


should include the following
characteristics (Hobbs, 1986):
In-situ color.
Degree of decomposition
or humification
Main constituents: fibers,
wood remnants, amorphous
or granular material.
Mineral content/layers
Smell: slight to strong.
Chemistry: pH field test.
Tensile strength:
Resistance to pulling apart
Plastic limit if it is possible
or not, (fen yes/ bog no).
Special characteristics:
ex. plant type.
16

Engineering properties identification & sampling


Organic soils and peats are evidenced during subsurface
exploration:
by the presence of decaying vegetative matter and a
strong odor.
materials are greenish, dark gray, or black in color
materials can have very fibrous structures with wood
fragments and plant remains.

100mm-diameter piston sampler


with Plexiglas insert to hold the
sample

Disturbed sampling techniques can be used to provide


a visual confirmation of the organic material.
Difficult to obtain undisturbed samples:
Presence of gas
Loss of moisture during extrusion and preparation
Disturbance of sample when forces in the retainer
If possible, fibrous peats should be sampled using blocksampling techniques.

(Landva et al, 1983)

17

Engineering properties identification & sampling


250mm-square block sampling technique
100mm-diameter piston sampling technique

(Landva et al, 1983)

(Landva et al, 1983)

18

Engineering properties In-situ testing


Cone penetration testing (standard CPT and
piezocone CPTu) may be used to obtain detailed site
stratigraphy information.

It is recommended that disturbed samples be


obtained to correlate CPT & CPTu, readings.

Field Vane Test the most common


method to determine in-situ the shear
strength of organic soils. However
interpretation of the results is difficult
especially for fibrous peats.

(Bergdahl, 1996)

(FHWA, 2002)

Shear strength: =
For organic soils with LL>200%
the correction factor is taken:
=0.5

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Engineering properties Geotechnical classification


Samples of soil layers noted as
organic on a BH log should be tested
in the laboratory to evaluate the
percentage of organic matter (ASTM
2974).
The non-organic portion of the sample
will control the engineering behavior of
soils when the organic content is less
than approximately 20% (Arman,
1970).

Organic soils and peat classification properties (after Landva et al., 1983)

Landva et al. (1983) developed a


system for classifying organic soils and
peats, divided into four groups:
Ac, ash content: gives the organic matter based on
peats (Pt)
the assumptions that organic matter is combustible and
peaty organic soils (PtO)
that the percentage of organic content is: 100-Ac.
organic soils (O)
silts and clays with organic content
(MO and CO)

20

Engineering properties Physical properties


Water content
Can vary over wide range (from 200%
to 2000%) with large changes over
small distances.
Bulk density
low and variable related to the organic
content, water content and degree of
saturation.
Specific gravity
Highly variable, depends on the
amount of mineral content.
Void ratio
Peat has higher void ratio compared to
inorganic soils.
Permeability
Is the most important property because
it controls the rate of consolidation of
the peat under load and therefore its
strength (Hobbs, 1984).

Typical property values (Munro, 2004)

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Engineering properties shear strength


Shear Strength
The shear strength of a peat deposit depends on its moisture
content, degree of humification and mineral content.
Relatively lightweight (i.e., low dry density), saturated, no
significant stress history, thus their strengths are usually very low.
If good quality undisturbed samples can be obtained, laboratory
triaxial strength testing should be performed to obtain undrained
shear strength for design.
Organic soils have very low hydraulic conductivities, therefore the
assumption of undrained failure imposed by the CPT, CPTu, and
VST allow for the use of these in-situ testing devices as a means
to correlate undrained shear strength.
Difficult in the laboratory due to difficulties in obtaining good
representative samples from the field, getting them quickly to the
laboratory and then trimming them to size without disturbance.
As a consequence of this simple in-situ field tests such as the
vane test have been developed to give an indication of in-situ
shear strengths. But these have limitations.

(Boylan et al, 2008)

22

Engineering properties Compressibility

Organic soils are very compressible and can result in


large settlements that occur for many years.
Primary settlement will occur over a relatively short
time while the majority of the total settlements will
result from the long-term secondary compression.
Therefore, secondary settlement will be the dominant
component of settlement during the design life of the
structure and should be evaluated.
For N-C soils, ratio of the coefficient of secondary
compression to the compression index (C/Cc) is
relatively constant for a given soil:
organic clays and silts, 0.050.01 value averages
peats, 0.060.01 the value averages
The coefficient of secondary compression, C, is
evaluated according to the following equation:

=
1 2

23

Engineering in peat Construction methods I

Options on settlement and stability


problems include:
Load adjustment: transferring
loads to more stable soil level.
Soil replacement: totally or
partially replaced with better
material.
Stage construction/Soil
improvement: improving soil
properties with some sort of
treatment.
Other techniques: including
geotextiles and embankment
piling.

(Hartlen, 1996)

24

Engineering in peat Construction methods II

(Hartlen, 1996)
(Hartlen, 1996)

25

Case history: Wilnis peat dyke breach, Netherland

Location: Wilnis is a village in the Dutch province of


Utrecht, about 30km south of Amsterdam.
Failure: At 26-Aug-2003 1:30am a peat dyke failed
along the ring canal near the village center. About 60m
of dyke translated horizontally ~15m towards the north,
leaving two breaches at the sides.
Newly developed houses in
an excavated peat area

N
Amsterdam

Peat
Lake

Mijdrecht

5km

Wilnis
Google Maps

Failure

dyke

FLOODED

Wilnis

150m
Google Earth

(Van Baars, 2005)

26

Case history: Wilnis

Consequences: 600 houses under 0.5m of water, 2000


residents evacuated but returned to their house at the
evening.
The failure cause the canal water level to drop instantly
and as a result the horizontal pressure on the south quay
disappeared thus the quay also failed by a circular slip
surface (Van Baars, 2005).

(Van Baars, 2005)

Earlier Events: At 2002 this part of the dyke flooded and


temporary sandbags were used for two days.
Later this peat strip between the canal and the newly
developed area was heighten with a deposit of coarse
peat.
Prior to the failure the warmest and drier summer in last
50y.
Cause of failure? the canal has a constant maximum
water load which means that the failure was not because
of temporary higher load. The failed part of the dyke
translated horizontally about 15m towards the north.

Circular slip at the south quay

27

Case history: Wilnis Soil profile & parameters

Site investigation: No prior available data about the dyke, or the soil profile at the site.
Investigation conducted after the failure and included borings, CPTs and piezometer, near and
in the dyke. Lab tests including triaxial tests (CU) and Direct shear test (more appropriate).
Note that because of the soft subsoil old houses at the south were founded on wooden piles
and the new houses at the north on precast concrete piles.
The dyke contained a cut-off wooden sheeting. This sheet pile wall appears waterproof as the
grass near it has either become yellow or died.
SOUTH

NORTH

CANAL

DITCH

FAILURE SURFACE

(Van Baars, 2008)


(Van Baars, 2008)

28

Case history: Wilnis Horizontal failure mechanism


Dyke failed at constant horizontal load and a
decreasing vertical load. Evidence in support
of a horizontal slip surface at about -6.5m
NAP are, that at this level:
is the bottom of the ditch
is indicated by the CPTs with reduced
friction ratio below the failed part.

FAILURE SURFACE

(Van Baars, 2008)

Horizontal pore pressure at channel:


Fhor.=1/2 x x (h1) 2 x x (h2)2= 94.35kN
Horizontal shear resistance:
Fmax(wet)=cL + tan() x A x wet=112.9kN
Fmax(dry)=cL + tan() x A x dry=93.35kN
Safety factor:
Case 1:SFwet=Fmax/Phor.=112.9/94.35=1.2
Case 2:SFdry=Fmax/Phor.=93.35/94.35=0.99

Failure mechanism:
The prolonged dry and hot
season caused the drying
of the crest peat, thus
further reducing the unit
weight of the already
lightweight
peat
and
consequently the passive
shear resistance enough
to be: SF < 1.
29

Case history: Wilnis peat dyke discussion


Regional geology
Nieuwkoop Formation
Sea level rise during Holocene (approx. 120m).
(peat)
Soft soils and accumulated in a lagoon tidal basin protected by a
coastal barrier.
N
A marshy coastal wetland (mire) migrated inland due to the sea
level rise.
Wilnis
Various types of peat developed depending on nutrient availability
and groundwater conditions:
Basal peat, accumulate over the Pleistocene substratum of
sand, usually contains significant amounts of mineral matter, is
more compact, altered of weathered.
Wood peat accumulated at riverine environments
50km
Bog beat accumulated at more isolated areas.
(Haan and Kruse, 2007)
Peat accumulated when the offshore barrier was closed and clays or
organic clays during several periods when the offshore barrier was
breached and peat sequence was interrupted by marine and clastic
sediments.
Peat accumulated until Roman times and since then the drainage of
the swamps caused subsidence which along with the continuous
30
sea level rise resulted to the necessity of protective embankments.

Case history: Wilnis peat dyke discussion


-1.5m
-2.1m

Dyke crest level


Canal level/ wooden pile top
Peat fill
-3.0m
Sedentary peat
-4.0m

Forest fine peat

w=500%-900%
o=80%-90%

-5.2m

Wooden pile base

-6.4m
-6.5m

Ditch bottom level/failure surface

-7.5m

Lelystad Member
(Naaldwijk Formation)
gyttja, detritus and
reworked peat
Hollandveen Member
(Nieuwkoop Formation)
rich in reed fragments

Peaty clay, impermeable, w=160%-300% Wormer Member


reeds, leaves and roots o=15%-25% (Naaldwijk Formation)

Basal denser peat,


gas bubbles were
detected
-9.0m

Pleistocene sand

Nieuwkoop
w=450%-700%
Formation
o=75%-85%

Erosion +
Fresh
Deposition
water lake
Variability
Fen
Erosion +
Deposition

tidal
lagoon
Variability

Variability

fine peat: appears fibrous, high w%, high permeability,


low density, low effective stress, high buoyancy,
horizontal structural anisotropy factors of instability
Basal peat: consolidated by gas pressure, resulting in
the lower w%, higher yield stress and higher shear
31
strength.

Case history: Wilnis peat dyke Remediation


Nomogram for estimation of the width of the pressure berm, (Carlsten, 1996)

Pressure berm calculation:


Height of pressure berm h1:

1 =

5.52

Considering:
h = 6.4m embank. height
Pemb=1.02 T/m3
Ppb=1.02 T/m3
=15 kPa
SF=1.5
G=9.8 m/sec2
Thus, berm height h1~0.9m

1.5

alll=/SF=15/1.5=10 kPa
q1=6.4x1.02x9.8=63.97 kPa
Thus, their ratio is:
10/63.97=0.156

From the nomogram b2/D


ratio is: 1.5 thus for a layer
depth D=2.5m (base of basal
peat) berm length b2=3.75m

Pressure berm: 0.9m height


and 3.75m length, plus
FS horizontal = 105.5/94.35
32
= 1.19

Case history: Wilnis peat dyke - Conclusions

Failure
mechanism:
horizontal
translational movement due to the
reduction of unit weight at the upper peat
layer of the dyke after a prolonged dry
summer.
Surprisingly, horizontal sliding was a failure
mechanism excluded from the Dutch TAW
(Technical Advisory Board for water
barriers) safety manual, in 1999. Dykes
need to be check according to the manual.

Peat formation: sensitive to changes in


the environment (drying). Peat strongly
anisotropic due to its nature.

Peat formed on a marshy/swampy coastal


wetland retreating against the rising sea
level. Consist of reed rich peat thus it is
fibrous and anisotropic.

Another factor contributing to the instability


could have been the much higher
horizontal permeability

near the failure surface which allowed


the pore pressure not to decrease at
that depth.

Furthermore the deep peat layer appear


relative low permeability contributing to
the high pore pressure at failure level.

A pore pressure decrease due to


dryness would result to a much higher
effective stress and strength near the
slip surface.

Drying area and Phreatic surface from


PLAXIS (Van Baars, 2008).

It appears that an adequate measure


of precaution could have been the
construction of a pressure berm at
the base of the dyke.
33

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen peatslide, North Wales

Location: hillside above the A5 London to


Holyhead trunk-road in the Llyn Ogwen area.
Failure: occurred on Tuesday at 10:00am 8-Nov2005 during a period of intense rainfall. The
peatslide was a shallow translational type. Failure
of some 250 m3 of peat debris.
Llyn Ogwen
Lake

BANGOR

A5
SITE

N
10km

EDiNA

N
Llyn Ogwen
Lake
A5

PEAT
SLIDE

~7m
PEAT
SLIDE

200m
(Nichol et al, 2007)

EDiNA

34

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen

Consequences:
four
workers
injured,
damages to a temporary building, delay to a
nearby construction project and blockage of
the A5 road by debris (Nichol et al, 2007).

Historic/Earlier
Events:
several
relict
peatlslides appear on the hillside in the
immediate vicinity of the site. These historical
slips are shallow features with small head
scars and minor slumping (Nichol et al, 2007).

Daily rainfall for the past 21 days prior to the


slide.

Causes of failure?: According to Nichol et al


four principal factors contributed to the
peatslide:

The prolonged wet weather.


The saturated peat conditions.
The steeply dipping smooth surface of
the rockhead.
A natural drainage pipe at the head scar.

PEAT

(Nichol et al, 2007)

(Nichol et al, 2007)

35

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen Soil profile & parameters

Lab and field tests: No boreholes, from two peat samples collected, Atterberg limits LL
between 573% and 720%, and moisture content w between 732% and 828%. Non-plastic
peat samples, with ash content of 2.2%. From in-situ application of hand Vane Test at the
head scour the vane shear strength range from 10 to 15kPa (Nichol et al, 2007).
Peat field description: Soft to very soft, dark brown, Sphagnum Eriophorum peat,
between 0.2m and 0.8m thick. Degree of humification varies between H4 and H7
(according to van Post classification), indicating moderate to strongly decomposed peat.
Fibers are readily identifiable, both coarse and fine fibers are present (Nichol et al, 2007).

Slope geometry: Slope height about 35m and the source of the peat is measured 14m
long and 7m wide. Four slope segments between head scar and the edge of the
highway:
Upper part, smooth and even with ~22 gradient.
Middle part, uneven with inclination reducing at ~10 and then steepening up to
36.
Lower part, irregular surface covered with grass.
Bottom part, steep rock abuts the highway verge.

36

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen failure mechanism

The displaced mass of peat lid out of the


source area, travelled down the hillside and
deposited at the highway verge, after traveling
a distance about 50m (Nichol et al, 2007).
At the head of the peat slide a steady flow of
water emerged from the natural drainage pipe
located at the base of the peat profile. The
smooth-walled sub-circular pipe was aligned in
downslope direction.
At a distance of 5m behind the upslope head
scar margin, a pattern of tension cracks
developed that created unstable peat blocks.
The sizes of these blocks reached 3m square
but most were around 1m square.
Part of the slope contain a steeply dipping
surface of the smoothed rockhead formed by
prominent discontinuity within the granite
bedrock. This feature created a low-friction
surface at the base of the peat.

SUBSURFACE NATURAL
ROCKHEAD
DRAINAGE PIPE SMOOTH SURFACE
TENSION
CRACKS
PEAT

(Nichol et al, 2007)

It is assumed by Nichol et al (2007)


that during the period of intense
rainfall water percolated to the base of
the peat along cracks and the
subsurface pipe network. Thus the
increased pore pressure at the base of
the peat reduced the effective stress
and the resistance to sliding.
37

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen Issues


There are several issues that caused discussion
over this case:
Failure type: According to Dykes and
Warburton (2007), the failure is peat-debris
type assuming that the average thickness of
the peat cover is at least 40cm.
Thus, apart from the unit weight of the peat
contributing to the shear stress acting across
the failure plane, the properties of the peat are
irrelevant to the failure.
Shear strength and stability analysis:
According to Dykes and Warburton (2007), the
slide appears translational but not particularly
planar and infinite slope analysis is
inappropriate. Furthermore, the usage of vane
shear strength of peat is problematic because
of the influence of the peat fibres. The shear
strength of the mineral substrate should be
presented also.

SUBSURFACE NATURAL
ROCKHEAD
DRAINAGE PIPE SMOOTH SURFACE
TENSION
CRACKS
PEAT

(Nichol et al, 2007)

Remediation: According to Dykes and


Warburton (2007), the remaining peat
blocks are isolated residuals with no
hydraulic continuity and unconfined
thus there is no mechanism to develop
excess water pressures to cause
further movements.

38

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen Discussion

N
PEAT
SOURCE
AREA

L=50m

Debris
flow

H=35m

30m
Google Earth, 2006

39

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen Discussion


CIRQUE
Pleistocene
(late Devensian)
glaciation

Glacial rock-basin
Llyn Bochlwyd Lake
PEAT FORMING ENVIRONMENT

MOUNTAIN LAKE
DAMED

TILL FORMATION:
DIAMICTON

Post glacial EXTENDED


DOWNHILL
Thin peat blanket
(slope gradient >20)
PEAT
SLIDE
AREA

250m

Glacial rock-basin
Llyn Ogwen Lake

Google Earth, 2012

40

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen Back analysis I


In this case the failure is reasonably assumed that occurred under undrained conditions.
Total stress stability analysis can be used. The available strength is given by Su the
undrained shear strength of the soil.

Back analysis of the failed slope using limit equilibrium analysis can be applied in order to
obtain the Su for total stress analysis, using:
(a) Infinite slope analysis
Limit Equilibrium Assumptions Reasonably
(b) Planar surface analysis
satisfied by
this Case
Planar or curved failure surface

YES

Failure criterion holds along the


failure surface

YES

Global equilibrium of rigid blocks


of soil between failure surface
and boundaries

YES

Internal stress distribution within


the blocks is not considered

YES
(Kontoe, 2012)

41

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen Back analysis II

Infinite slope analysis total stress analysis


Infinite Slope Analysis
Assumptions

Reasonably
satisfied by
this Case

Slope infinitely long

NO

Failure surface parallel to the


ground surface

YES

Uniform pore water pressure


conditions exist

YES
(Kontoe, 2012)
(Kontoe, 2012)

Total stress stability analysis:

=

Peat unit weight, =10 kN/m3 (assumed)
Peat layer thickness, =0.8m
Factor of Safety, F=1.0
inclination =22

Su is back-calculated to be 2.78 kPa

42

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen Sensitivity analysis

Infinite slope analysis effective stress sensitivity analysis


(Boylan et al, 2008)

In this case assuming steady seepage of groundwater


parallel to ground level, then:

95

Sensitivity analysis of the c and Zw parameters on


the calculated FOS for various bulk unit weights
using the above equation (Boylan et al, 2008).
In this case, for slope 20~22 and z=1m (z=0.8m)
can be approximated using:
Zw/Z=1
=10kN/m3
the c parameter essentially (95%)
c=3kPa
dictates the resulting FOS.
=35

43

Case history: A5 Llyn Ogwen - Conclusions

The nature of the failure can be debated


due to insufficient data. It appears that is a
pure peat slide. It may be peat-debris slide.
The presence of the natural drainage pipe
inside the pet formation support the peat
slide option.

Initially the failure is approximately a planar


failure and at the lower part of the slope
become a peat flow.

Insufficient data on the safety factor


calculation and on the assumption made
for its calculation. It appears that Infinite
slope analysis assumption were made.

Reported vane test shear strength values


between 10 and 15kPa, are not clarified as
corrected or not. The fibrous nature of the
peat makes them unreliable.

Remediation measures could include:


removal of blocks of peat left behind on
the upper part of the rupture surface
the use of intercepting ditches
natural vegetation recovery

12
10

(Boylan et al, 2008)

44

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