KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering

, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 5032–5040 | Cite as

Probabilistic Risk Assessment of unsaturated Slope Failure Considering Spatial Variability of Hydraulic Parameters

  • Lin Wang
  • Chongzhi Wu
  • Yongqin Li
  • Hanlong Liu
  • Wengang ZhangEmail author
  • Xiang Chen
Geotechnical Engineering


Probabilistic risk assessment of slope failure evaluates the slope safety in a quantitative manner, which considers the failure probability and failure consequence simultaneously. However, risk assessment of unsaturated slope accounting for spatially variable soil-water characteristic curve (SWCC) model parameter and saturated hydraulic conductivity has been rarely reported. A probabilistic risk assessment approach is proposed in current study for rationally quantifying the unsaturated slope failure risk with the aid of Monte Carlo (MC) simulation. The SEEP/W and SLOPE/W modules contained in Geostudio software are applied to carry out deterministic analysis, where factor of safety (FS) of the unsaturated slope is calculated by Morgenstern–Price method. The spatially variable hydraulic parameters are characterized by their respective random fields that are transferred from the random void ratio field in this study, rather than generating them separately. The proposed approach is subsequently employed to an unsaturated slope example for exploring the influences of spatially variable void ratio. Results show that the unsaturated slope failure risk is considerably affected by the spatially variable void ratio, and the single exponential autocorrelation function (ACF) popularized in geotechnical engineering tends to underestimate the failure risk in the unsaturated slope risk assessment.


unsaturated slope risk assessment spatial variability hydraulic parameters random field 


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This work was supported by the Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Geomechanics and Embankment Engineering (No. 2019018) and Chongqing Engineering Research Center of Disaster Prevention & Control for Banks and Structures in Three Gorges Reservoir Area (Nos. SXAPGC18ZD01 and SXAPGC18YB03). The financial support is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Korean Society of Civil Engineers 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil EngineeringChongqing UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.School of Civil EngineeringChongqing Three Gorges UniversityChongqingChina

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