Natural slopes and cuts: movement and failure mechanisms
- Author: S. Leroueil 1
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- Source: Géotechnique, Volume 51, Issue 3, 01 April 2001 , pages 197 –243
Movements and failure of cuts and natural slopes constitute an important geotechnical problem that involves a variety of geomaterials in a variety of geological and climatic contexts, and which has a major socio-economic impact in many countries. The paper reviews the state of knowledge in this domain, examining the basic aspects of soil mechanics that are relevant to the context of slopes, the importance of water on slope behaviour, and then the different stages of slope movements: pre-failure, failure, post-failure and reactivation. Finally it is shown how the geotechnical characterisation of slope movements can be used, in particular for assessing risk associated with such movements. Emphasis is put on for the brittleness of soils and its practical implications for the progressive failure developing at the pre-failure stage and on the characteristics of post-failure movements. The influence of other factors such as creep, fatigue, destructuration, partial saturation and infiltration is also considered.