Technical Papers

Dry Stone Masonry Dams, Interpretative analysis of long term horizontal and vertical displacements

Jun . 13 . 2012
​Dry stone masonry dams are a heritage of the beginning of 19th century in Italy, where 15 dams of such typology have been built. These dams are no longer permitted by the Italian dam regulation since 1959 and rockfill dams have been their natural evolution.  The object of the analysis is the assessment of long-term movements of dry stone masonry dams, with the aim of identifying and classifying the “typical behavior” through an empirical approach and of evaluating the possible correlations between displacements and geometrical parameters of the dams.  The dry stone masonry dams put in evidence progressive movements during their lifetime, both in vertical and in horizontal direction, produced by their own weight and by the hydrostatic thrust of the reservoir. The magnitude of these movements mainly depends on the compressibility degree of the foundation soil, the compactness degree of the structure and the resistance of the stones used.  The monitoring systems that control the dams since many years ago have allowed the detection of long term deformations getting a good data base for an assessment of the characteristic behavior of this type of structure. This study analyzes the monitoring data of a sample of 10 dams of Italian ENEL company with the aim to evaluate the long term performance of this type of dams, identifying and classifying the “typical behavior”, while recognizing that each dam is a case in itself  because of construction mode, morphology of the valley, used materials and foundation soils.​

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