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Geophysical and geotechnical assessment of a railway embankment failure


Donohue, S and Gavin, K and Tolooiyan, A, Geophysical and geotechnical assessment of a railway embankment failure, Near Surface Geophysics, 9, (1) pp. 33-44. ISSN 1569-4445 (2011) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2010 European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers

DOI: doi:10.3997/1873-0604.2010040


A geophysical investigation was carried out after the failure of an important railway embankment in the south-east of Ireland. The embankment, which had a long-term history of stability problems, was studied using a combination of ground-penetrating radar (GPR), electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW) and geotechnical testing. A significant thickening of the ballast layer around the failure location was observed using GPR, which confirmed the existence of an ongoing stability problem in the area. ERT profiles determined the presence and spatial extent of a significant layer of soft clay both beneath and to the east of the embankment, which could have a major impact on its long-term stability. ERT also detected steeply sloping bedrock close to the failure zone that is likely to have contributed to the long-term settlement of the embankment, which necessitated frequent re-ballasting. MASW confirmed the presence of the steeply sloping bedrock in addition to determining the low stiffness (Gmax) values of the embankment fill. High quality sampling of the soft clay deposit was undertaken and strength and compressibility tests revealed the importance of this layer to both the on-going serviceability problems evident for the original embankment and the stability problems encountered by the remodelled section.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Civil engineering
Research Field:Civil geotechnical engineering
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in engineering
UTAS Author:Tolooiyan, A (Dr Ali Tolooiyan)
ID Code:129516
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:38
Deposited By:Engineering
Deposited On:2018-12-04
Last Modified:2019-01-14

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