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Progressive Failure of Offshore Slopes due to Construction in Upslope Areas

[+] Author Affiliations
Rajib Dey, Bipul Hawlader, Chen Wang

Memorial University, St. John’s, NL, Canada

Paper No. OMAE2015-42241, pp. V001T10A016; 8 pages
  • ASME 2015 34th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 1: Offshore Technology; Offshore Geotechnics
  • St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, May 31–June 5, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5647-5
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Human activities such as construction loading in upslope areas could be a potential triggering factor for many offshore landslides such as the 1979 Nice landslide. Post-slide investigations show that the existence of marine sensitive clay layers might be one of the potential causes of many large-scale submarine landslides. In this paper, a finite element (FE) modeling technique is developed to analyze the failure of a slope in undrained condition. Nonlinear strain softening behaviour of undrained shear strength of marine sensitive clays is incorporated in the FE analysis. Strain localization in narrow zones (i.e. shear bands) could be successfully simulated. The formation of shear bands and their propagation could explain some potential failure mechanisms. The FE results show that large-scale catastrophic failure of submarine slopes might have occurred due to shear band propagation through strain softening clay layers, which cannot be explained using the traditional limit equilibrium methods for slope stability analysis. Effects of different factors, such as thickness of the marine clay layer and its sensitivity, on stability of submarine slope are also examined.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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