1852 Improving Slope Stability and Preventing Landslides

The failure of many retaining walls during the 1999 Ji Ji, Taiwan, earthquake was surprising. Well-designed cantilever and MSE walls have performed well during recent earthquakes. For instance, there was an MSE wall that continued supporting the embankment adjacent to the Arifiye Bridge that collapsed during the 1999 Kocaeli, Turkey, earthquake (Figure 18.73). A cribwall in the Santa Cruz Mountains was severely distressed during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake but continued to support the steeply sloping ground (Figure 18.74). There is no record of a cantilever retaining wall failure during a California Earthquake. Therefore, well-designed retaining walls continue to be a good method for supporting most soils.

Other methods of preventing soil movement include planting trees and other vegetation, the use of geotextiles, installing piles, etc. The foundations of structures may also be strengthened to prevent their movement. Many of the methods used for preventing liquefaction can also be used to stabilize soils. However, when an area has a long history of landslides, it may be more prudent to build elsewhere.

FIGURE 18.73 Mechanically stabilized earth wall continues to support the embankment behind the collapsed Arifiye Overcrossing after the 1999 Kocaeli, Turkey, earthquake.
FIGURE 18.74 Crib wall continues to support steeply sloping soil in Santa Cruz after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. (Photo courtesy of EERI.)
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