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Prediction of undrained sinkhole collapse

Augarde, C.E.; Lyamin, A.V; Sloan, S.W.


A.V Lyamin

S.W. Sloan


Sinkholes are surface depressions or shafts resulting from the collapse of a submerged cavity in soil. The cavities that lead to sinkholes form as a result of underlying geology in limestone areas, or as a result of human activity such as mining or leakage from a sewer. The formation of sinkholes is often sudden and can lead to extensive damage and loss of life, especially in urban areas. Much of the literature on the subject of sinkhole formation is empirical in nature, often being associated with specific locations. This paper presents the results of a study, using numerical modeling, of the undrained stability of the submerged cavities that lead to sinkhole formation. Finite-element limit analysis techniques (using programs developed at the University of Newcastle) are used to obtain upper and lower bound values of a suitable load parameter, which bracket the exact solution. The results are compared to analytical solutions, both from literature and derived independently.


Augarde, C., Lyamin, A., & Sloan, S. (2003). Prediction of undrained sinkhole collapse. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 129(3), 197-205.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2003-03
Deposit Date Sep 29, 2008
Journal Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Print ISSN 1090-0241
Publisher American Society of Civil Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 129
Issue 3
Pages 197-205
Keywords Limit analysis, Stability, Mining, Cavities, Lower bound solutions, Circular tunnels, Finite-elements.