Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The Probability and Sensitivity Analysis of Slope Stability Under Seepage Based on Reliability Theory


In order to compensate the deficiency that uses the safety factor as the sole criterion to measure the stability of the tailings pond, based on the Monte Carlo test principle and the field investigation, a probability and sensitivity considering the spatial variability of reservoir sand layers were analyzed by a finite element analysis method. The results showed that the different sampling methods made the instability probability and reliability index fluctuate greatly, but they did not make the safety coefficient change obviously, which can also provide the range of instability probability and reliability index. In addition, it also proved that the probability analysis can reflect the actual coupling of water and soil in the tailings pond, and it was not appropriate to use the safety factor as the sole criterion to measure its stability. The sensitivity analysis also showed the sensitivity of the main parameters of the sand layer to the safety factor, and indicated that the change of its natural density would not make the tailings destabilizing, while the cohesion was the main sand sensitivity factor that affects its stability. The study provided a theoretical basis for the operation and management of the tailings pond in the future with certain guiding significance.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15


  1. Chen P, Wei ZA, Xia LY (2015) Probability analysis of tailings dam stability into consideration of spatial variation of soil parameters. Chin J Geol Hazard Control 26(1):66–70

  2. Chu XW, Xu M, Wang ZM (2016) Stability analysis of seepage on the accumulation dam of a phosphogypsum tailing. J Eng Geol 24(4):661–667

  3. Chu ZF, Liu BG, Li X (2017) Comparison between quantile value method and partial factor method for stability evaluation of soil slopes. Chin J Geotech Eng 39(1):106–115

  4. Cn.Tech (2011) Stability modeling with SLOPE/W 2007 version. Metallurgical Industry Press, Beijing

  5. Hu PA, Han S (2010) Research on reliability of Tailings dam stability based on JC method. J Saf Sci Technol 6(4):56–60

  6. Jiang L, Yu X, Liu LJ (2017) Reliability analysis on filled slope based on Monte Carlo simulation. Chin J Undergr Space Eng 13(Sup 2):693–697

  7. Lv DG, Yu XH, Wang GY (2012) Global probabilistic seismic capacity analysis of structures based on form finite element reliability method. Eng Mech 29(2):1–8

  8. Ministry of Housing and Urban and Rural Construction in People’s Republic of China (2008) Code for engineering geological investigation of water resources and hydropower: GB50487. China Planning Publishing House, Beijing

  9. Pan JP, Liu XP, Zhu HW (2013) Reliability model of seismic liquefaction evaluation for tailings. J Saf Sci Technol 9(2):23–28

  10. Rico M, Benito G, Salgueiro AR (2008) Reported tailings dam failures—a review of the European incidents in the worldwide context. J Hazard Mater 152:846–852

  11. Samui P, Kumar R, Yadav U (2019) Reliability analysis of slope safety factor by using GPR and GP. Geotech Geol Eng 37:2245–2254

  12. Shan CC, Zhang ZD, Zhong KB (2011) Review and summary of dam break accident disposal process of “9.8” special major tailings reservoir in Xiangfen. Emerg Manag China 10:13–18

  13. Soralump S, Isaroran R, Yangsanphu S (2019) Weak plane failure of phyllitic sandstone: back analysis for slope stabilization and the use of probabilistic approach for design optimization. Geotech Geol Eng 37:2315–2324

  14. Sun CL, Xu H, Yang JG (2016) Analysis on static of tailings dam based on seepage caculation. Min R&D 36(6):63–67

  15. Tang ZH, Chai B, Liu ZC (2013) Reliability analysis of stability of fill slope. Earth Sci J China Univ Geosciences 38(3):616–624

  16. Wei ZA, Yang YH, Zhao HJ (2016) Stability of tailings dam of Xiao-da-e tailings pond. J Northeast Univ (Nat Sci) 37(4):589–593

  17. Xie XY, Tian WQ, Wang YH (2009) The safety analysis of current situation and management counter measure on tailing reservoir in China. J Saf Sci Technol 5(2):5–9

  18. Xu GH (2016) Application of reliability analysis theory to stability analysis of hightly weathered rock slope. J Yangtze River Sci Res Inst 33(3):65–74

  19. Yin GZ, Chen P, Wei ZA (2015) Numerical simulation for the effect on lens to saturation line in tailings dam. Mining R&D 35(3):64–67

  20. Yu GM, Song CW, Pan YZ, Li L, Li R, Lu SB (2014) Review of new progress in tailing dam safety in foreign research and current state with development trent in China. Chin J Rock Mech Eng 33(Supp. 1):3238–3248

  21. Zhang FP, Cao ZJ, Tang XS (2016a) Efficient slope reliability updating method based on Monte Carlo simulation. Eng Mech 33(7):55–64

  22. Zhang YF, Huang DY, Zhao T (2016b) Stability analysis of dump slope based on probability method. Coal Mine Mach 37(11):77–80

Download references


The study was funded by the Major basic research project of Shaanxi provincial science and technology department (2016ZDJC-21), Key projects of Shaanxi science and technology bureau (2018GY-099, S2018-YF-YBGY- 0149), Scientific research projects of Shaanxi education department (18JK0248), Shangluo science and technology bureau project (SK2016-50).

Author information

Correspondence to Tao Li.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Li, T., Liu, G., Wang, C. et al. The Probability and Sensitivity Analysis of Slope Stability Under Seepage Based on Reliability Theory. Geotech Geol Eng (2020).

Download citation


  • Tailings pond
  • Monte Carlo test
  • Probability analysis
  • Sensitivity analysis