Assessment of two cone penetration test based methods for evaluating the liquefaction potential of tailings dams.

Torres Cruz, Luis Alberto
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The stability of tailings dams is of great importance to the mining industry. It is well known that soil liquefaction is one of the mechanisms that can compromise the stability of such structures. Given the difficulty of extracting undisturbed samples of any cohesionless material, the use of in situ tests to assess liquefaction potential has been intensely researched. The purpose of this work was to assess the applicability to tailings dams of two CPT-based liquefaction assessment methodologies, namely, the Robertsonbased and the Olson and Stark methodologies. Ten case histories were evaluated. When considering triggering of liquefaction, the Robertson-based and Olson and Stark methodologies correctly predicted the behaviour of four out of five and seven out of ten case histories, respectively. When considering the onset of flow failure, the Olson and Stark methodology correctly predicted the behaviour in four of seven case histories for which a post-triggering analysis was made. The results are useful in understanding the shortcomings of implementing these methodologies on TSFs and the limits of their predictive power.
Interim research report. University of the Witwatersrand. Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.
Soil liquefaction potential, Tailings storage facilities, CPT interpretation, Case histories