The stability analysis of slopes plays a very important role in civil engineering. Stability analysis is used in the construction of transportation facilities such as highways, railroads, airports, and canals; the development of natural resources such as surface mining, refuse disposal, and earth dams; as well as many other human activities involving building construction and excavations. Failures of slopes in these applications are caused by movements within the human-created fill, in the natural slope, or a combination of both. These movement phenomena are usually studied from two different points of view. The geologists consider the moving phenomena as a natural process and study the cause of their origin, their courses, and the resulting surface forms. The engineers investigate the safety of construction based on the principles of soil mechanics and develop methods for a reliable assessment of the stability of slopes, as well as the controlling and corrective measures needed. The best result of stability studies can be achieved only by the combination of both these approaches. The quantitative determination of the stability of slopes by the methods of soil mechanics must be based on a knowledge of the geological structure of the area, the detailed composition and orientation of strata, and the geomorphological history of the land surface. On the other hand, geologists may obtain a clearer picture of the origin and character of movement process by checking their considerations against the results of engineering analyses based on soil mechanics For example, it is well known that one of the most favorable settings for landslides is the presence of permeable or soluble beds overlying or interbedded with relatively impervious beds. This geological phenomenon was explained by Henkel (1967) using the principles of soil mechanics.


Slope Stability Failure Surface Slope Movement Side Force Logarithmic Spiral 
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Copyright information

© Van Nostrand Reinhold Company Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yang H. Huang
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KentuckyUSA

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