Assessment of Mass Movements and Critical Phreatic Levels in Soil Slopes

Conference paper
Part of the Sustainable Civil Infrastructures book series (SUCI)


Tectonic movements and vibrations of the earth cannot be controlled, which causes devastating natural hazards like landslides and earthquakes which have accounted for many lives in the previous years. The major reasons for landslides are heavy rainfall, liquefaction, rise in pore water pressure, floods, etc. This experimental study focuses on identifying the Critical Phreatic Level (CPL) of different soil types for different slope geometries. Different soil types were modeled in a tank of dimensions 2.30 × 1.00 ×  1.25 m to simulate the natural field conditions like field density, ground water flow and slope angle in the laboratory with scaled down slopes of specific angles, based on the natural angle of repose of the soil. Density closely resembling the natural field density was obtained by air pluviation and a constant water inflow from an adjacent chamber was provided to simulate groundwater flow. The slope geometry was modeled, initial conditions were set and the phreatic level in the slope was continuously monitored until the slope fails with considerable slope displacement. The soil properties such as permeability, bulk unit weight, specific gravity and angle of repose obtained from laboratory tests were used as input parameters to model the slopes in PLAXIS 2D. The displacement values obtained from the software were compared with the displacement values obtained from the experiment, and were found to be similar, thereby validating the results.


Phreatic Level Soil Slope Slope Geometry Pluviation Slope Failure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to express our gratitude to Amrita School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India for providing the necessary funds and facilities required for the successful completion of the project. We express our heartfelt thanks to Mr. K. Sreenivasan and the supporting lab staff for their sincere support.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering, Amrita School of EngineeringAmrita Vishwa VidyapeethamCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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