The effects of reservoir geometry on the seismic response of gravity dams

M. A. Millán, Y. L. Young, J. H. Prévost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Conventional seismic analysis of gravity dams assumes that the behaviour of the dam-water-soil system can be represented using a 2-D model since dam vertical contraction joints between blocks allow them to vibrate independently from each other. The 2-D model assumes the reservoir to be infinite and of constant width, which is not true for certain types of reservoirs. In this paper, a boundary element method (BEM) model in the frequency domain is used to investigate the influence of the reservoir geometry on the hydrodynamic dam response. Important conceptual conclusions about the dam-reservoir system behaviour are obtained using this model. The results show that the reservoir shape influences the seismic response of the dam, making it necessary to account for 3-D effects in order to obtain accurate results. In particular, the 3-D pressure and displacement responses can be substantially larger than those computed with the 2-D model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1441-1459
Number of pages19
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


  • Dams
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Hydrodynamic pressures
  • Seismic analysis
  • Structural dynamics


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