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Analysis of rainfall infiltration effects on the stability of pyroclastic soil veneer affected by vertical drying shrinkage fractures


The paper presents a preliminary, simplified evaluation of the effects of rainfall infiltration on the stability of slopes in layered pyroclastic soils affected by shrinkage vertical fractures. The analysis has been developed with a special reference to a stratigraphic sequence obtained by an in situ survey at Pizzo d'Alvano (Southern Italy). The analysis of rainfall infiltration is performed using an original dual-permeability model. Results show how fractures strongly condition infiltration depending on rainfall intensity. Prolonged low-intensity rainfall may lead to a higher saturation of the surface soil layer than short, intense rainfall when water may flow quickly through fractures into the underlying more permeable soil layers. Calculated distributions of pore pressure are used for the slope stability analysis using the infinite slope approach. Variations of the safety factor as a consequence of infiltration show that prolonged rainfall can induce a more relevant decrease in the safety factor than intense precipitations. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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