Response of a residual soil slope to rainfall
Lee, T. T.
Leong, Eng Choon
Rezaur, R. B.
Date of Issue2005
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Rainfall-induced landslides are a common problem in residual soil slopes of the tropics. It is widely known that rainfall-induced slope failures are mainly caused by infiltration of rainwater; however, the response of a residual soil slope to infiltration is not fully understood. The difficulties lie in the quantification of the flux boundary condition across the slope surface with respect to infiltration and its effect on the pore-water pressure conditions in the slope. Therefore, it is important to understand the response of a slope to different rainfall conditions and the resulting changes in pore-water pressures and water contents. A residual soil slope in Singapore was instrumented with pore-water pressure, water content, and rainfall measuring devices, and studies were carried out under natural and simulated rainfalls. Results indicate that significant infiltration may occur in a residual soil slope during a rainfall. Small total rainfalls can contribute a larger infiltration percentage than large total rainfalls. The percentage of infiltration usually decreases with increasing total rainfalls. The study has indicated the existence of a threshold rainfall of about 10 mm for runoff generation to commence. Infiltration during wet periods may lead to the development of positive pore-water pressures as a consequence of a perched water table condition. Matric suctions are recovered gradually during dry periods due to redistribution. Soil water contents tend to be higher near the toe of the slope than at the crest irrespective of rainfall events, indicating subsurface movement of water in the downslope direction. The study has also indicated a correlation between rainfall amount and relative increase in pore-water pressure. The results can be used to quantify the flux boundary conditions required for the seepage analyses associated with rainfall-induced slope failures.
Canadian geotechnical journal
© 2005 Canadian Science Publishing