Dissolution Influences on Gypsum Rock Under Short and Long-term Loading: Implications for Dams

  • Nihad B. SalihEmail author
  • Philip E. F. Collins
  • Stephen Kershaw
Conference paper


Dissolution of soluble substrates such as gypsum presents a major hazard to dams in many parts of the world. This research simulates hypothesised conditions beneath the Mosul Dam, northwest Iraq, where collapse of a karstic system associated with continuous fresh water supply from its reservoir is a recognised problem. Gypsum rocks from northern Iraq and similar rocks from Bantycock gypsum mine, UK, were analysed for short-term mechanical response following immersion (5–50 weeks) and long-term loading during immersion (maximum 50 weeks). New experimental devices were developed from a conventional oedometer. Cylinder samples provided a proxy for massive gypsum strata. Samples were permanently submerged at atmospheric water pressure, with groundwater recharge, flow and dissolution simulated by regular changes of water. Stress on each sample was progressively increased to a maximum of 2,688 kPa. Small increases in strain were recorded by the end of each test but no failures occurred within 60 days. However, notable failure due to atmospheric water pressure and axial stress occurred over long time periods. Visible physical changes included a decrease in sample mass and volume. Similar change was recorded in ultrasonic velocities. These indicate that gypsum collapse risk beneath dams requires prolonged exposure to dissolution. The modified device performed well and was robust, and demonstrates that such a modification can provide a simple low cost system for conducting laboratory creep tests on weak rocks.


Gypsum rock Dissolution Short-term loading Long-term loading Dams 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nihad B. Salih
    • 1
    Email author
  • Philip E. F. Collins
    • 2
  • Stephen Kershaw
    • 2
  1. 1.University of SulaimaniSulaimaniIraq
  2. 2.Brunel UniversityLondonUK

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