2009 journal article
Seepage erosion in layered stream bank material
EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS, 34(12), 1693–1701.
Current stream restoration practices often require anthropogenic manipulation of natural field soils to reconstruct stream banks in the absence of stabilizing vegetation. For this study, researchers conducted laboratory experiments on reconstructed, non-vegetated stream banks with layered soils experiencing seepage. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of seepage, pore water pressure, and bank geometry on erosion and bank stability of layered streambanks. The experimental design consisted of an intermediate-size soil lysimeter packed with a sandy clay loam top soil and an underlying fine sand layer at three bank slopes (90°, 45° and 26°). Shallow groundwater flow and seepage resulted in bank failure of geometrically stable banks. Pop out failures, liquid deformation, and piping were all observed failure mechanisms in the underlying sand material, dependent on the bank angle. Groundwater seepage processes created small-scale failures of the underlying sand leading to larger-scale failures of the overlying sandy clay loam. The underlying sand layer eroded according to the initial bank angle and change in overburden loading. The overlying loam layer failed along linear failure planes. The gradually sloped bank (i.e. 26° slope) failed faster, hypothesized to be due to less confining pressure and greater vertical seepage forces. Researchers analyzed the laboratory experiments using the Bank Stability and Toe Erosion Model, version 4·1. The model calculated an accurate shear surface angle similar to the failure angle observed in the lysimeter tests. The model predicted failure only for the undercut 90° bank slope, and indicated stable conditions for the other geometries. Steeper initial bank slopes and undercut banks decreased the bank factor of safety. The observed failure mechanisms and measured saturation data indicated an interaction between overburden pressure, seepage forces, and bank slope on bank stability. Future bank stability modeling would benefit by incorporating lateral seepage erosion and soil liquefaction prediction calculations. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.