Title page for ETD etd-05102007-014809

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Asprouda, Panagiota
URN etd-05102007-014809
Title Distinct Element Simulation of the February 17th, 2006, Leyte, Philippines Rockslide
Degree Master of Science
Department Civil Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Gutierrez, Marte S. Committee Chair
Duncan, James Michael Committee Member
Mauldon, Matthew Committee Member
  • rainfall-induced failure
  • debris flow
  • rockslide
  • triggering
  • distinct element method
Date of Defense 2007-05-08
Availability unrestricted

This study investigates the February 17th, 2006 massive rockslide that occured in the island of Leyte, Philippines following heavy rainfall and four minor earthquakes. The rockslide is considered one of the largest and most catastrophic slides in the last few decades as it completely inundated the village of Guinsaugon, taking the lives of approximately 1,400 of the 1,800 residents of the village.

The distinct element simulation of the rockslide is performed using 3DEC (Three-Dimensional Distinct Element Code) in order to investigage the underlying triggering mechanism of the slide as well as the behavior of the debris flow. The 3DEC models were established based on field observations from the U.S. Reconnaissance team and material and joint properties based on in-situ and laboratory test results. The possible triggering mechanisms considered in the distinct element analyses were the rainfall-induced hydraulic pressurization of the fault forming part of the main scarp, as well as the seismic acceleration due to the minor earthquakes that occured the morning of the slide.

The results of the analyses and simulations indicate that the rainfall-induced hydraulic pressurization of the fault was potentially the main triger for the initiation of the slide. The minor earthquakes, which occured before and around the time of the slide initiation, appeared to have very little effect on the triggering mechanism and the debris flow are comparable to witness accounts and field observations. The results presented in this study are expected to provide better understanding of rockslides such as the one that occured in the Philippines on February 17, 2006. With further improvements in computational capabilities in the future, distinct element simulations can have the potential to reliably predict the initiation and behavior of slides, and help mitigate their impact.

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