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Rock Mech Rock Eng (2013) 46:359371

DOI 10.1007/s00603-012-0262-x


Slope Stability Problems and Back Analysis in Heavily Jointed

Rock Mass: A Case Study from Manisa, Turkey
Mutluhan Akin

Received: 13 February 2012 / Accepted: 1 May 2012 / Published online: 24 May 2012
Springer-Verlag 2012

Abstract This paper presents a case study regarding Keywords Slope stability  Back analysis  GSI 
slope stability problems and the remedial slope stabiliza- Non-linear failure criterion  Water storage tank 
tion work executed during the construction of two rein- Heavily jointed rock mass  Retaining pile wall 
forced concrete water storage tanks on a steep hill in Block punch index test
Manisa, Turkey. Water storage tanks of different capacities
were planned to be constructed, one under the other, on
closely jointed and deformed shale and sandstone units. 1 Introduction
The tank on the upper elevation was constructed first and
an approximately 20-m cut slope with two benches was The potable water supply of a settlement is usually stored in
excavated in front of this upper tank before the construc- water tanks of different capacities. The dimensions of a tank
tion of the lower tank. The cut slope failed after a week and are related to the water demand, calculated with respect to
the failure threatened the stability of the upper water tank. the population. A water tank both regulates the water
In addition to re-sloping, a 15.6-m deep contiguous pressure in the network and reserves a water supply trans-
retaining pile wall without anchoring was built to support mitted from the source location. Furthermore, a water tank
both the cut slope and the upper tank. Despite the con- should be adequately elevated in order to fully maintain the
struction of a retaining pile wall, a maximum of 10 mm of hydraulic pressures required for potable water network
displacement was observed by inclinometer measurements distribution. Thus, water storage tanks are mostly located on
due to the re-failure of the slope on the existing slip sur- hills or uneven terrain, and a cut slope is usually excavated
face. Permanent stability was achieved after the placement so as to construct the concrete tank on a flat surface.
of a granular fill buttress on the slope. Back analysis based Although slope stability problems concerning water storage
on the non-linear (HoekBrown) failure criterion indicated tanks are not very common during the construction or post-
that the geological strength index (GSI) value of the slope- construction period, fatal events may occur after such
forming material is around 21 and is compatible with the in incidents (Calderon et al. 2009). Water leakage from the
situ-determined GSI value (24). The calculated normal tank may considerably reduce the shear strength of the slope
shear stress plots are also consistent with the HoekBrown material, leading to slope failures and catastrophic acci-
failure envelope of the rock mass, indicating that the dents. Moreover, excavations to create cut slopes during
location of the sliding surface, GSI value estimated by back construction may trigger slope instabilities, which may also
analysis, and the rock mass parameters are well defined. affect the safety of nearby structures. The failure of slopes
The long-term stability analysis illustrates a safe slope and the substantial costs of remedial measures are mostly a
design after the placement of a permanent toe buttress. consequence of unsatisfactory geological and geotechnical
investigations and inadequate interpretation of acquired
data during preliminary design (Lee and Hencher 2009).
M. Akin (&) The construction of two reinforced concrete (RC) water
Department of Mining Engineering, Yuzuncu Yil University,
Zeve Campus, 65080 Van, Turkey storage tanks started at the end of 2005 in Manisa, Turkey,
e-mail: to store a portion of the potable water demand. The

360 M. Akin

location map of the study area is shown in Fig. 1. The

latitude and longitude of the construction site are
533338.27 E and 4273272.91 N. The capacities of the tanks
are 3,000 and 7,500 m3, respectively. Both tanks were
constructed, one under the other, on steep terrain (slope
inclination C30). The horizontal distance between the two
tanks is approximately 30 m. In addition, the elevation of
the 3,000-m3 tank (WT1) is 153.3 m, whereas the 7,500-m3
tank (WT2) is situated at 133.8 m. A general cross-section
of the construction area with the location of the two RC
water storage tanks is provided in Fig. 2. It should be noted
that the construction area was restricted by an expropria-
tion boundary and an unusually steep cut slope had to be
excavated to place the two structures in a tight area, due to Fig. 2 A general cross-section of the construction area (note: the
space limitations. After the excavation, the cut slope failed vertical scale is exaggerated)
and the failure affected the stability of WT1. Several
effective and ineffective remedial works were carried out the movements monitored after the construction of a retaining
to retain the failed slope and WT1. pile wall is evaluated and, finally, the efficiency of the
In this paper, the repeated failure of a cut slope and a series placement of a granular fill buttress on the slope is analyzed.
of remedial works for slope stabilization are explained. Fur-
thermore, the slope failure which occurred after the con-
struction of the upper tank is back-analyzed to assess the shear 2 Geology of the Study Area
strength parameters of the slope-forming material. In addition,
The study area is situated on highly fractured and deformed
rocks of the Bornova Flysch Zone. The flysch zone com-
prises large blocks of Mesozoic limestone, basalt, serpen-
tine, and radiolarian chert with a highly disturbed clastic
matrix of Cretaceous to Paleocene age (Okay and Altiner
2007). Moreover, Neogene-aged yellowish brown marl
layers crop out in the same zone. The foundations of the two
water storage tanks as well as the cut slope exist in the
clastic matrix of the Bornova Flysch Zone. It consists of
gray graphitic shale and alternating beds of sandstone and
shale units (Fig. 3a, b). These units are closely jointed,
sheared, and folded with a chaotic structure (Fig. 3c). There
is no observed groundwater table in the study area, except
local wet zones after heavy rains. As the above-mentioned
geological units exhibit similar geotechnical properties, it is
quite difficult to differentiate the exact unit boundaries in
the construction area. The discontinuity spacing of the slope
material is mostly between 5 and 10 cm. As a particular
note, the discontinuity surfaces are usually smooth and
soapy, which drastically decreases their shear strength,
especially during heavy rains. There is no certain discon-
tinuity orientation, as the rock mass is heavily jointed. In
this highly deformed material, a circular slope failure is
more probable than a structurally controlled instability,
since there is no distinct discontinuity surface on which
failure can occur (Anderson and Richards 1987; Ozdemir
and Delikanli 2009; Sharifzadeh et al. 2010). The sliding
surface in heavily jointed rock masses involves both natural
discontinuities aligned on the sliding surface and some
Fig. 1 Location map of the study area shear failure through intact rock (Wyllie and Mah 2004).

Slope Stability Problems and Back Analysis in Heavily Jointed Rock Mass 361

3 History of the Slope Instabilities In the preliminary stage of the project, the construction
of the 3,000-m3 tank (WT1) at the higher elevation was
A detailed geotechnical survey was not carried out on the started. When the tank construction was about to be com-
construction site during preliminary investigations in this pleted, an approximately 20-m high cut slope with two
project. The physico-mechanical properties of the litho- benches was excavated in front of WT1 to make room for
logical units were estimated by observational studies and the foundation of the 7,500-m3 water storage tank (WT2) at
literature data without any laboratory or in situ tests. the lower elevation (Fig. 4). Having completed the slope
excavation, the foundation of WT2 and a drainage ditch
along the tank perimeter were excavated. One week after
excavation of the drainage ditch, the cut slope in front of
WT1 instantly failed. Major and progressive tension cracks
at the top bench and a small-scale horizontal movement at
the toe were observed after the failure (Fig. 4). The slip
surface shown in Fig. 4 is estimated considering the main
tension crack and the horizontal movement at the slope toe.
Eventually, the slope failure threatened the stability of
WT1. Also, a separation of several millimeters in scale
between the main tank and the maneuver room sections of
WT1 occurred and was monitored (Fig. 5).
As an immediate remedial measure to prevent slope
failure and to protect the stability of WT1, a granular toe
buttress was constructed and re-sloping was performed by
removing slope material from the crown to lower the
sliding forces (Fig. 6). Further slope movement was pre-
vented by the above-mentioned temporary remedial mea-
sures. However, the toe buttress covered a large portion of
the WT2 foundation and the temporary support had to be
removed in order to construct WT2.

4 Back Analysis of the Initial Slope Failure

The estimation of shear strength parameters along the

sliding surfaces is quite difficult in slope engineering
(Sonmez et al. 1998). The limit equilibrium back analysis
of a failed slope is one of the most reliable approaches to
determine the shear strength of slope material at the time of
failure (Sancio 1981; US Army Corps of Engineers 2003;
Topal and Akin 2009). The shear strength parameters
obtained by the back analysis of slopes are accepted as
being more consistent than those obtained by laboratory or
in situ testing during remedial measure design (Popescu
and Schaefer 2008). In conventional back analysis, the
internal friction angle or cohesion is assumed in order to
calculate the other parameter, considering a factor of safety
of 1.0. Although back analysis based on linear failure cri-
terion is mostly applied in soil slopes, the same procedure
can be followed on very weak rock mass, which is trans-
formed into a soil-like material as a consequence of
chemical weathering or alteration (Cai et al. 2007; Sha-
rifzadeh et al. 2010). On the other hand, in recent years, the
Fig. 3 Gray graphitic shale (a), the alternation of sandstone and shale geotechnical characterization of homogeneous and isotro-
(b), a close-up view of heavily jointed slope material (c) pic rock masses has mostly been performed using the

362 M. Akin

Fig. 4 The 20-m high cut slope

with two benches and first slope
failure after excavation
(modified after GDBP 2006)

Fig. 5 Separation between the

main tank and the maneuver
room after slope failure (a side
view, b overhead view)

Fig. 6 Immediate slope

remediation after the first slope
failure (modified after GDBP

geological strength index (GSI) system (Morales et al. Yin 2004). The HoekBrown non-linear failure criterion
2004; Marinos et al. 2006). The GSI system proposed by (Hoek and Brown 1980; Hoek et al. 2002) has been com-
Hoek et al. (1995) allows the determination of rock mass monly employed for the back analysis of slope failures in
strength and deformation parameters for both hard and heavily jointed rock masses (Sonmez et al. 1998; Sonmez
weak rock masses. and Ulusay 1999; Cai et al. 2007; Sharifzadeh et al. 2010).
The back calculation of shear strength parameters of The shear strength parameters of a failure surface in such
sliding surfaces using the linear MohrCoulomb criterion is rock masses can be determined for a specific normal stress
independent from normal stress. However, the failure using the material constants of the HoekBrown failure
envelope of a closely jointed rock mass is non-linear and is criterion (m and s) as a function of the rock mass rating
sensitive to normal stresses (Sonmez et al. 1998; Yang and (RMR) system or the GSI system.

Slope Stability Problems and Back Analysis in Heavily Jointed Rock Mass 363

The non-linear HoekBrown failure criterion for (d) The calculation step is carried out for different values
homogeneous and isotropic rock masses is defined by the of GSI(s) to obtain a variety of GSI(s) and GSI(m) pairs.
equation below: (e) The results are presented in a GSI(s)-GSI(m) graph
and a straight line passing from the origin with an
r01 r03 rci  mb  r03 =rci s0:5 1 inclination of 45 is drawn. The inserted line inter-
where r01 and r03 are the maximum and minimum principal sects the GSI(s)-GSI(m) curve at a certain point
effective stresses acting upon the sliding surface, rci is the identifying the GSI value of the investigated rock
intact rock strength, and mb and s are the material mass (GSIRM).
constants, which are determined by the following Following the back analysis, the instantaneous cohesion
formulas in accordance with the GSI: and internal friction angle along the existing failure surface
can be calculated by application of the non-linear Hoek
mb mi  expGSI  100=28  14D 2
Brown failure criterion, considering the normal stress and
s expGSI  100=9  3D 3 the GSIRM value.
where mi is the intact material constant and D is the dis- For the actual slope failure, the shear strength parame-
turbance factor of rock mass due to blasting or excavation. ters of the sliding surface mobilized at the time of failure
The GSI value can be directly determined in the field were estimated by means of back analysis using the non-
based on site conditions, although sampling for laboratory linear (GSI) approach. The slope stability back analyses
testing is extremely difficult in heavily jointed sedimentary were conducted using the Slide v.5.0 software (Rocscience
and metamorphic rock masses such as shale, flysch, and Inc. 2002) and the slope geometry before the failure was
schist. In addition, alternative procedures may be imple- considered in the analyses (Fig. 7). In addition, the slope
mented in order not to overestimate the mb and s values, as was kept in dry conditions in the back analysis, since no
overrated input parameters may lead to unrealistic results groundwater table was observed in the field and in bore-
in the slope stability back analysis using the non-linear holes drilled after the construction of the pile wall support.
approach (Unal et al. 1992; Sonmez et al. 1998). The back Due to the impossibility of sampling in heavily jointed
analysis of failed slopes using the GSI system can be rock mass, the uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) of the
performed with a trial and error approach following the slope material was determined through block punch index
procedure first presented by Sonmez et al. (1998). The (BPI) tests (Ulusay and Hudson 2007) using thin cylin-
calculation steps are as follows: drical slices of rock pieces from the slope material. The
calculated BPIc (corrected BPI) was then converted to the
(a) A GSI value called GSI(s) is assessed and the material UCS in accordance with the equations presented by Ulusay
constant s is determined using Eq. 3. and Hudson (2007). In the BPI test, thin cylindrical disc-
(b) The material constant mb is calculated considering the shaped specimens prepared from cores or blocks are put
existing slope geometry and slip surface in limit into an apparatus which is designed to fit the well-known
equilibrium software using the HoekBrown failure point load device (Ulusay et al. 2001). The specimens are
criterion given in Eq. 1, which satisfies the limit loaded and forced to break by a rectangular rigid punching
equilibrium condition (FOS = 1.0). block. In this study, disc slices used in the BPI tests were
(c) The calculated material constant mb in the previous drilled from rock blocks obtained from the investigation
step is employed in Eq. 2 and discloses the second area. The unit weight was also determined on the same
GSI value, named GSI(m). discs. Consequently, the average unit weight and UCS of

Fig. 7 Slope geometry before

the first failure considered in the
back analyses

364 M. Akin

the intact slope material are 17.3 kN/m3 and 15.3 MPa, The relationship between shear strength and normal
respectively. stress is more accurately represented by a non-linear
The GSI value of the rock mass studied was directly model. Furthermore, in the non-linear failure approach, the
determined in the field in accordance with the latest shear strength parameters mobilizing on the failure surface
quantitative GSI chart recommended by Sonmez and Ul- is normal stress-dependent. The instantaneous shear
usay (2002). More realistic GSI values can be estimated in strength parameters are obtained by the intercept and the
this chart by means of structure rating (SR) and surface inclination, respectively, of the tangent to the non-linear
condition rating (SCR). The SR value is assigned based on relationship between the shear strength and normal stress
the volumetric joint count (Jv), whereas the SCR of the (Hoek et al. 2002). In other words, the term instantaneous
discontinuities is calculated considering roughness, indicates the shear strength parameters at a certain normal
weathering, and infilling parameters. The volumetric joint stress level on the non-linear failure envelope.
count (Jv) of the slope material in the study area is around Therefore, the instantaneous shear strength parameters
21 with respect to in situ measurements. On the other hand, along the existing failure surface (ci and /i pairs) were
discontinuity surfaces are generally smooth, highly determined regarding the actual normal stress at the bottom
weathered, and contain soft clay infillings with a thickness of each slice. In the analyzed slope, the variation of ci and
of \5 mm. Then, the SR and SCR values were found to be /i with different normal stresses is illustrated in Fig. 11.
27 and 4, respectively. The GSI value of the slope material The normal stress level on the actual sliding surface attains
is 24, as seen in Fig. 8, indicating a blocky and disturbed a maximum value of 130 kPa. On the other hand, the
rock mass. It should be noted that the material constant mi instantaneous cohesion varies between 6 and 28 kPa,
was selected as 4 in the back analysis with regards to the whereas the instantaneous internal friction angle changes
recommended mi values for clastic rocks by Hoek et al. between 21 and 50.
(1995), because the triaxial test is almost impossible to
carry out on such rock types. Additionally, a disturbance
factor (D) value of 0.8 was employed in the back analysis 5 First Remedial Measure: Application
in accordance with Hoek et al. (2002), as the slope was of the Retaining Pile Wall
excavated mechanically and was subjected to a minor
disturbance due to stress relief from overburden removal. After the first failure, it was planned to construct retaining
The GSI(s)-GSI(m) graph obtained from the back anal- piles in front of WT1 in order to stabilize the constructed
ysis of the failed slope following the procedure proposed tank. Therefore, both the safety of WT1 would be provided
by Sonmez et al. (1998) is illustrated in Fig. 9. The GSIRM and the toe buttress on the foundation of WT2 would be
value of the failed slope was found to be 21, as seen in removed. In addition to retaining piles, a new re-sloping was
Fig. 9. As the surface characteristics of discontinuities also performed by lowering the slope angle of benches, to
were very poor and the slope material was tectonically decrease sliding forces. The shear strength parameters were
deformed, sheared, and jointed with a chaotic structure, the assessed for the pile design due to the presence of insuffi-
GSIRM value of the rock mass assessed by back analysis is cient data for the slope material. Two different material
reasonable and is compatible with the GSI value of 24 zones were distinguished during the design phase. The first
determined in the field. zone on the upper level of the slope was represented by
The HoekBrown failure envelope of the slope-forming disturbed material which was affected from the first slide.
rock mass was constructed using the GSI value of 24 The second zone under the first subdivision was the undis-
determined in the field and the related material constants turbed section of the rest of the slope. The slope material
(mb: 0.034, s: 8.5e-6, a: 0.5) calculated in accordance with parameters used for the design of the retaining piles are
Eqs. 2 and 3 (Fig. 10). Based on the back analysis con- presented in Table 1 (GDBP 2006). It should be kept in
sidering the pre-failure slope geometry and the location of mind that the shear strength values in Table 1 are not related
the sliding surface in Fig. 7, the normal and shear stresses to the back analyses performed in this study. The new slope
acting at the bottom of each slice of the observed failure model with the retaining pile wall is presented in Fig. 12.
surface was calculated. These data pairs were plotted onto As shown in Fig. 12, the new cut slope between the two
the non-linear HoekBrown failure envelope of the water storage tanks has three benches with lower inclina-
investigated rock mass, as depicted in Fig. 10. These tions (5457). Furthermore, 15.6-m long RC piles
normalshear stress plots mostly fall on the HoekBrown (diameter 80 cm) without any anchors were proposed to
failure envelope, indicating that the location of the sliding support WT1. The axial distance(s) between each pile is
surface, the estimated GSI value via back analysis, and the 1.60 m. After the preliminary design, a contiguous bored
rock mass parameters accurately represent the studied pile wall was constructed in accordance with the submitted
failure. support model. The slope was then re-excavated with three

Slope Stability Problems and Back Analysis in Heavily Jointed Rock Mass 365

Fig. 8 Determination of the GSI value of the slope material using the proposed chart by Sonmez and Ulusay (2002)

benches. Subsequent to concrete pile wall construction and drilled between WT1 and the retaining pile wall. Each hole
re-sloping, the buttress at the slope toe was removed. was cased with an inclinometer casing to monitor probable
Additionally, a total of three 22-m deep boreholes were lateral movements in the slope and the retaining pile wall.

366 M. Akin

Fig. 11 Instantaneous shear strength parameters along the existing

Fig. 9 GSI(s)-GSI(m) graph obtained from the back analysis of the failure surface (ci and /i) graph
failed slope using the non-linear approach
placed immediately to stabilize the slope. The lateral
movement in the slope was prevented after this toe buttress
application (11.05.2006), according to the inclinometer
measurements shown in Fig. 13.
The second failure after the retaining pile wall con-
struction indicated that the support was not sufficient to
provide stability for the cut slope and WT1. The slope
material facing the retaining pile wall was the only
resisting force for the bending moments on the anchorless
piles. The release of the resisting slope material after the
failure resulted in a lateral movement towards the longi-
tudinal slope axis in the retaining piles, due to the lateral
earth pressure on the backs of the piles. Besides, when the
cumulative displacement graph in Fig. 13 is observed, it
can be clearly seen that the first lateral movement started
Fig. 10 HoekBrown failure envelope of the studied rock mass and
almost from the bottom of the piles (around 12 m). Finally,
the normalshear stress pairs acting on the observed failure surface it can be concluded that the decrease of resisting forces
calculated by means of back analysis acting on the pile wall after the second slide caused sig-
nificant pile displacements in the contiguous retaining piles
6 Second Slope Failure after Pile Wall Construction without any anchorage.

One week after finishing the retaining pile wall construc-

tion and the removal of the toe buttress (22.04.2006), a 7 Final Solution for Stability: Permanent Toe Buttress
lateral movement along the longitudinal slope axis (parallel
to the failure direction) was noticed by inclinometer mea- It was of great importance to maintain the permanent sta-
surements. Fifteen days following the first inclinometer bility of WT1 on the upper elevation after the first slope
measurement (07.05.2006), the lateral movement attained a failure. However, the constructed pile wall support was
maximum value of 10 mm. The inclinometer data indi- unsatisfactory for slope stabilization. Therefore, an
cated that the slope in front of the retaining pile wall was improved solution that would result in a factor of safety
still unstable and that the slope was still moving along the sufficient to resist additional slope movements was
same failure surface (Fig. 13). A large-scale tension crack implemented. Toe counterweights and buttresses are gen-
was also observed on the slope benches as an obvious sign erally efficient for the mitigation of slope instability (Rowe
of slope instability (Fig. 14a). In addition to the tension 2001). The application of a temporary toe buttress after the
crack, progressive small-scale cracks occurred adjacent to first and second slides prevented additional slope dis-
WT1 (Fig. 14b). A granular toe buttress was once again placements. Therefore, a larger buttress was constructed

Slope Stability Problems and Back Analysis in Heavily Jointed Rock Mass 367

Table 1 Specific slope material parameters used for the retaining pile wall design (GDBP 2006)
Unit weight (cn) Cohesion Internal friction Modulus of elasticity Poissons
(kN/m3) (c) (kPa) angle (/) () (E) (MPa) ratio (t)

Zone 1 (disturbed 19 24 27 200 0.35

Zone 2 (undisturbed 19 35 28 500 0.35

Fig. 12 New slope model with

retaining piles and re-sloping
(modified after GDBP 2006)

for efficient stabilization. However, the water storage tank

at the lower elevation (WT2) had to be shifted about 10 m
in the direction opposite to the longitudinal slope axis to
make room for the toe buttress. As previously mentioned,
the construction area was restricted by an expropriation
boundary which made the shifting quite impossible. Hence,
the expropriation boundary was officially enlarged by the
municipal council to create extra space. Consequently, the
site was expanded, which permitted the construction of
both the toe buttress and WT2.
The final slope geometry with a granular buttress is
depicted in Fig. 15. It is important to notice that the new
buttress entirely covers the slope benches and applies a
higher resisting force. No lateral displacements were
observed in the ongoing inclinometer measurements after
the installation of the new buttress. Having completed the
installation of the new buttress on the slope, the larger RC
water storage tank at the lower elevation (WT2) was con-
structed in front of the new support (Fig. 16).

8 Long-Term Stability Assessment

8.1 Estimation of Peak Ground Acceleration

The long-term stability of the final slope geometry was also

analyzed by the slope stability analysis considering the
Fig. 13 Cumulative displacement graph from inclinometer 1 (paral- seismic effect in this study. The project area is located in a
lel to the longitudinal slope axis) (modified after GDBP 2006) seismically active zone in the Western Anatolia Region. A

368 M. Akin

Fig. 14 Slope failure-related problems after the construction of the retaining pile wall (a tension crack on slope benches, b small-scale crack
near the water tank, c retaining pile wall and slope, d inclinometer casing between WT1 and retaining pile wall)

Fig. 15 Final slope geometry

with a granular toe buttress
(modified after GDBP 2006)

significant extensional regime in this region resulted in study area. Therefore, the maximum expected earthquake
numerous normal faults and graben systems (Bozkurt with a moment magnitude of 7.4 was considered in the
2001). The Manisa Fault exists in the very close vicinity of long-term stability assessment in this study. Additionally,
the project area. This normal fault is about 40 km in length the epicentral distance (Re) to the main segment of the
and lies in the southern margin of Manisa city (Fig. 17). Gediz Graben is around 25 km.
Although a moment magnitude (Mw) of 5.2 was recorded in The peak ground acceleration in the project area was
1994 in this fault segment (Emre et al. 2005), Kayabali and evaluated by two different regional attenuation relation-
Akin (2003) and Ulusay et al. (2004) assigned values of 7.2 ships of Ulusay et al. (2004) and Kayabali and Beyaz
and 7.4, respectively, to the Gediz Graben which is 150 km (2011), given in Eqs. 4 and 5, respectively. In these
long in total and is the main tectonic feature around the equations, PGA is the peak ground acceleration (cm/s2),

Slope Stability Problems and Back Analysis in Heavily Jointed Rock Mass 369

Fig. 16 Final slope design

(a WT1 and upper buttress,
b WT2 and lower buttress,
c complete view of WT2)

Fig. 17 Simplified map of

graben systems around the study
area (modified from Bozkurt

370 M. Akin

Fig. 18 Stability analysis of the

final slope supported by a
permanent granular buttress

Mw is the moment magnitude, and Re is the epicentral significant overflow from water storage tanks. Therefore,
distance (km): the long-term stability of the supported slope design was
investigated using the rock mass parameters determined
PGA 2:18e0:021833:3Mw Re 4
by back analysis. The Slide v.5.0 software (Rocscience
log PGA 2:08 0:0254Mw2 1:001 logRe 1 Inc. 2002) was employed during analysis. It should be
5 noted that the non-linear failure criterion was taken into
consideration. The factor of safety of the final slope
The attenuation relationship proposed by Ulusay et al. design in static conditions is 1.95. In seismic conditions,
(2004) resulted in a peak ground acceleration of 272 cm/s2, considering a maximum of 136 cm/s2 horizontal seismic
whereas the relationship of Kayabali and Beyaz (2011) load, the factor of safety decreases to 1.52 (Fig. 18). The
resulted in a PGA of 113 cm/s2. Therefore, the maximum calculated safety factor is acceptable even in seismic
peak ground acceleration (272 cm/s2) determined by conditions, considering the degree of risk in the project
Ulusay et al. (2004) was accepted for the project area. area.

8.2 Determination of the Seismic Coefficient

9 Conclusions
In the seismic slope stability analysis, the determination of
the seismic load acting on the analyzed slope is of great In this paper, the repeated failure of an excavated slope in
importance. A pseudostatic approach is mostly used in heavily jointed shale and sandstone units with a chaotic
seismic slope stability analysis, where the effects of an structure was evaluated via back analysis considering the
earthquake are represented by constant vertical and/or non-linear approach. When compared with field estima-
horizontal accelerations (Kramer 1996). Appropriate tions, the geological strength index (GSI) value obtained by
pseudostatic coefficients should be selected, as the seismic back analysis yields satisfactory results. Furthermore, the
coefficient is a measure of the pseudostatic force on the estimated failure surface of the analyzed slope was verified
slope. However, there are no certain rules for the deter- by comparing normalshear stress plots versus the Hoek
mination of the pseudostatic coefficient in the literature Brown failure envelope derived from the field-based GSI
(Kramer 1996). Hynes-Griffin and Franklin (1984) sug- value. It should be kept in mind that the shear strength
gested that appropriate pseudostatic coefficients for earth parameters are normal stress-dependent in such closely
slopes should be one-half of the peak ground acceleration. jointed rock masses and the non-linear failure approach
For this reason, a maximum of 136 cm/s2 horizontal seis- gives more realistic results. Therefore, assigning specific
mic load (one-half of 272 cm/s2) on the analyzed slope is shear strength parameters during the design phase may lead
taken into consideration in this study. to excessive work and insufficient remedial measures in
such slope stability problems. Finally, the slope design
8.3 Long-Term Stability with permanent granular counterweight seems to be quite
stable in accordance with the limit equilibrium analysis
Long-term stability of the analyzed rock mass should be performed using the non-linear approach in this study. The
maintained, as the close vicinity of the project area is most important message derived from this case study is that
surrounded by residential places and a slope failure proper engineering is important to avoid failure of engi-
may lead to both economic and human loss due to a neering structures.

Slope Stability Problems and Back Analysis in Heavily Jointed Rock Mass 371

Acknowledgments The author is grateful to the General Directorate Okay AI, Altiner D (2007) A condensed Mesozoic succession north of
of the Bank of Provinces (GDBP) for providing the necessary tech- Izmir: a fragment of the AnatolideTauride platform in the
nical information about the project. The author also thanks Dr. Samad Bornova Flysch Zone. Turk J Earth Sci 16:257279
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