Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

International Conference on Scour and Erosion (ICSE-5) 2010


Geotechnical Special Publication

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

This paper studies rill and gully initiation and propagation on levees, dams, and general earth embankments. It specifically studies where these erosion features occur, and how long a particular embankment can sustain overtopping before breaching and catastrophic failure. This contrasts to previous levee erosion analysis, which has primarily concerned the final effects of erosion, such as soil loss, depth of scour and breach width. This paper describes the construction of scaled-down physical models of levees composed of different homogeneous sands, as well as sand-clay mixtures, and their laboratory testing. A 3-D laser range scanner captured the surface features of the physical model, before and after erosion. The resulting data is utilized in developing digital simulations of the rill erosion process. Those simulations combine 3-D Navier-Stokes fluid simulations and a segmented height field data structure to produce an accurate portrayal of the erosive processes, which will be validated by physical modeling.