The motion of the Aznalcóllar dam slide, after the initiation of the failure, is examined in the paper. The moving mass remained essentially rigid, and Newton's second law provides the basic equation to determine the resulting dam displacement, velocity and acceleration. Resisting forces have been derived from a previous analysis of the conditions leading to failure. Pore water pressures induced by the forward motion of the dam are approximated as an undrained loading of the clay. Driving forces and their evolution in time derive from the liquefaction of tailings and the condition of constant volume of liquefied tailings pushing the moving dam forward. The stable ‘cliff’ left by the motion inside the tailings lagoon supports this hypothesis. The model is able to reproduce closely the distance travelled by the dam. It shows a low sensitivity with respect to reasonable changes of the main parameters. The model computes that the slide motion lasted about 15 s, and that the maximum acceleration experienced by the dam was 0·14g.

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Published on 01/01/2006

DOI: 10.1680/geot.2006.56.3.203
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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