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Open AccessArticle

Numerical Evaluation of Natural Periods and Mode Shapes of Earth Dams for Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis Applications

1
Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
3
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2020, 10(12), 499; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10120499
Received: 17 November 2020 / Revised: 7 December 2020 / Accepted: 10 December 2020 / Published: 12 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Numerical Modeling in Geotechnical Engineering)
The evaluation of natural periods and related mode shapes of earth dams represents a critical issue when performing structure-specific probabilistic seismic hazard analyses (PSHA). The identification of critical scenario events, using techniques such as disaggregation of the seismic hazard, and the calculation of a suitable target spectrum for ground motion selection and scaling procedures (e.g., the conditional mean spectrum), require at least the knowledge of the fundamental period of the system. This problem can be solved using analytical, numerical, and/or empirical techniques. We present several linear elastic modal analyses for an earth dam located in Southern Italy, using a numerical solution of the generalized eigenvalue problem obtained by the finite element method (FEM). Our numerical experiments are performed, testing various assumptions on boundary conditions, degree of saturation, and the distribution of geotechnical characteristics of the dam’s materials. We then compare our results against existing analytical solutions. We show that ignoring soil–structure interaction effects due to the flexibility of the dam foundation (i.e., under the assumption of fixed base) can lead to a substantial underestimation of the fundamental period of the dam. This effect should be carefully addressed when modal analysis results are used in PSHA-related applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: modal analysis; earth dams; probabilistic seismic hazard analysis; finite element method (FEM); ground motion selection and scaling modal analysis; earth dams; probabilistic seismic hazard analysis; finite element method (FEM); ground motion selection and scaling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zimmaro, P.; Ausilio, E. Numerical Evaluation of Natural Periods and Mode Shapes of Earth Dams for Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis Applications. Geosciences 2020, 10, 499. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10120499

AMA Style

Zimmaro P, Ausilio E. Numerical Evaluation of Natural Periods and Mode Shapes of Earth Dams for Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis Applications. Geosciences. 2020; 10(12):499. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10120499

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zimmaro, Paolo; Ausilio, Ernesto. 2020. "Numerical Evaluation of Natural Periods and Mode Shapes of Earth Dams for Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis Applications" Geosciences 10, no. 12: 499. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10120499

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