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Joint Meeting Pacific Section, AAPG & Cordilleran Section GSA April 29–May 1, 2005, San José, California

3D GIS-Based Kinematic Slope Stability Analysis

Timothy I. Mote
Geomatrix Consultants, 2101 Webster St. 12th, Oakland, CA 94612, [email protected]

Kinematic slope stability analysis can be used to evaluate the potential for plane or dip-slope failure, which is sliding along a bedrock discontinuity plane (such as bedding), and wedge failure, which is sliding along an intersection line of two intersecting discontinuity planes (such as bedding and a fault). The geometric relationship between the orientation of the discontinuity planes and the orientation of the overlying topography determine the kinematic stability of a slope.

By integrating the kinematic slope stability model into a 3D GIS, we can ubiquitously address slope stability across a study area. We apply the 3D GIS-based kinematic model to address slope stability for a canyon landfill in southern California. Geologic data is compiled into the GIS to create a representative model of the geologic structure across the study area. Spatial analysis of the geologic model and the topographic model determine kinematic slope stability and identify areas of potential plane failure or wedge failure. Our simplistic, purely kinematic approach does not account for cohesive strengths and assumes that slide planes are frictionless. The modeling results are readily visualized and used to support design efforts.

This study demonstrates the feasibility and usefulness of performing kinematic slope stability analysis within the 3D GIS framework. The study also demonstrates that GIS-based kinematic analysis is superior to traditional application of kinematic analysis in that GIS-based analysis provides: (1) greater accuracy of results, (2) increased efficiency of analysis, and (3) better communication of findings.

Posted with permission of The Geological Society of America; abstract also online (http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2005CD/finalprogram/abstract_85411.htm). © Copyright 2005 The Geological Society of America (GSA).